Former players reunite with coach Jerry Hill at Burlington High School on Dec. 20 (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Hill honored by former teammates before game, Demons deliver a win

By Mike Ramczyk

It’s never a bad idea to honor a legend.

Longtime Burlington boys basketball coach Jerry Hill got his night last Friday, thanks to current coach Steve Berezowitz and a host of former players.

Hill, who coached the Demons from 1960 to 1987 and led the squad to their only state tournament appearances in 1974 and 1979, was soft-spoken and humbled when addressing the crowd before the varsity basketball game.

Dozens of former players gathered for about an hour during the junior varsity game to socialize and reminisce about the good, old days when the Demons were in Division 1 and advanced all the way to the state tournament, where they ran into larger schools from the Milwaukee area.

Former players like Marc Rausch and Jeff Kohout said they jumped at the chance to honor Hill, who not only taught his players about the game of basketball but also many valuable life lessons.

Hill, 88, who lives in Burlington, said it was a very special night, and he was looking forward to visiting with his former players after the varsity game to celebrate.

“I feel grateful in this position to have had a pretty good career,” Hill said after his speech. “It’s nice to have all these players back that I haven’t seen in a long time. That’s why we had name tags.”

“We made it to the sectional finals and lost to some teams that won it all,” Hill added. “We had 10 conference championships. It is special to see everyone. I was a little nervous talking on the microphone.”

Hill said the Demons could be pretty good this year, though they’ve been littered with injuries.

Burlington 61, Milwaukee Ronald Reagan 46
Hill got to stick around and witness a victory from his old team.

Former Demon player Luke Benish is now the head coach of Reagan, and it was the second straight year the Demons have hosted the City Conference squad.

Burlington sharpshooter Joey Berezowitz went off for four 3-pointers and totaled 24 points and five rebounds to led the Demons to the nonconference victory.

The Demons led, 26-24, at the half, and were able to pull away in the final 18 minutes.

Though no other Demons scored in double figures, Jake Klug and Danny Kniep each added nine points.

Kniep added six rebounds to pace the club.

Logan Swantz added five rebounds, and Dane Kornely pulled down three.

Burlington knocked down seven triples in all.

The Demons are 3-3 on the season.

They will battle the Prairie School Friday and Kenosha Bradford Saturday in a holiday tournament at Carthage College.

See the Dec. 26 edition of the Standard Press for the full story.