Runkel leads Demons with 18 points

Runkel, a 6-foot-6 junior center, goes up strong Tuesday night at Burlington High School. (Dwight Beuthling/SLN)


By Andrew Horschak

Sports Correspondent

BURLINGTON – After misfiring twice during the regular season, the Burlington boys basketball team earned another shot against the Elks.

Sparked by a 21-0 run early in the first half, the sixth-seeded Demons tipped off the postseason by dismantling 11th-seeded Delavan-Darien, 65-34, in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal Tuesday night at Burlington.

Burlington (12-11) will play at third-seeded Elkhorn (19-3) in a regional semifinal 7 p.m. Friday. The Demons lost a pair of Southern Lakes Conference games to the Elks this season – 55-35 on Jan. 18 and 73-60 on Feb. 22.

“I think we’re definitely well prepared,” Burlington senior guard Trey Krause said. “We’ve played them twice and we know what they can do.”

Burlington coach Steve Berezowitz said his team’s most recent matchup against the Elks was far better than the one more than a month ago.

“We didn’t play well the first time at all,” he said. “It was right after break and we were kind of disappointed in our performance. We just weren’t playing well.

“I like how we competed last week when we played them. We had a great first half and we defended well in the second half. We just got a little stagnant on the offensive end.”

There were no problems on the offensive end in Tuesday’s victory over the winless Comets (0-23).

After Delavan-Darien freshman Colin Terpstra opened the game with a 3-pointer, Burlington responded with a 21-0 run to take command.

Krause connected on back-to-back 3-pointers. He then delivered two nifty assists, including a behind-the-back pass to Joey Berezowitz on the break. Krause’s third 3-pointer in less than three minutes made it 13-3 and gave the Demons a double-digit lead they would not relinquish.

Leading by as many as 18 points on three occasions, Burlington was outscored 13-8 in the final 10:57 and went into the locker room with a 29-16 halftime lead.

Any thoughts of a Comet comeback were quickly quashed when the Demons scored 19 of the first 21 points in the second half. A 3-pointer by Dane Kornely made it 48-18 with 10:09 to play.

Junior forward Dylan Runkel scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds to pace the Demons. Berezowitz (15) and Krause (12) also scored in double figures and Trent Turzenski chipped in six points and nine rebounds.

Unselfish and willing to make the extra pass against Delavan-Darien’s zone defense, the Demons finished with 19 assists on their 24 made baskets. The backcourt of Krause and Berezowitz combined for 11 of the 19.

“We have a lot of shooters and guys down low,” Krause said. “It helps when the ball is moving.”

In winning its postseason opener for the fourth year in a row, Burlington beat Delavan-Darien for the eighth time in a row and the 11th time in the last 12 meetings.

Despite his team dropping four of its last five games of the regular season, Steve Berezowitz was pleased with his team in losses to SLC champion Westosha Central and runner-up Elkhorn.

“I like our progress,” the Burlington coach said. “We were right there in both games. We just weren’t efficient on the offensive end.”

Friday’s winner between Burlington and Elkhorn will face the winner between seventh-seeded Union Grove (9-14) and second-seeded East Troy (20-1) in the regional final on Saturday. East Troy was ranked seventh in the latest state poll.