Burlington’s Joey Berezowitz (4) elevates as he drives into the lane during Tuesday’s season-opening game against Wilmot. The Demons needed a second-half rally to pull away from the Panthers to win the Southern Lakes Conference game. Berezowitz was incorrectly identified in the caption that appeared in the print edition of the Standard Press. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

Limited seating, quiet atmosphere provide different feeling at BHS

By Mike Ramczyk

Correspondent

There were two photographers working for the media and roughly 75 people in attendance.

And 10 players on the court with another 20 sitting on socially distanced chairs on the bench.

Everyone was wearing masks.

The 2020 high school basketball season tipped off Tuesday night at Burlington High School, and despite a generally quiet crowd, which sat on bleachers on one side of the large gym, the Burlington Demons utilized a huge second half run to pull away from Wilmot, 79-66, in Southern Lakes Conference action.

It was the Panthers’ second game (0-2), as they are still recovering from COVID-19 chaos that cancelled practices.

But the Demons haven’t gotten much time on the court, either.

After the game, head coach Steve Berezowitz, now in his 25th season, said the Demons have only practiced for one full week.

The rust showed a bit in the first half, as the Demons fell behind by two at halftime.

But after a 40-40 tie early in the second half, Burlington broke out with a 23-10 run to take control with seven minutes left.

The senior-led Demons got 21 points from senior guard Joey Berezowitz and 18 and six rebounds from wing Ethan Safar and finished the game on an impressive 39-26 run.

Dane Kornely added 12 points, and J.R. Lukenbill tallied 11 for the Demons, who travel to Union Grove Friday night.

Burlington shot a sizzling 62% from the field and held Wilmot to 40%.

The Demons connected on 8-for-18 from beyond the arc.

 

A ‘different’ season

Coach Berezowitz said it’s going to be a different year, but that doesn’t really affect play on the court.

“It’s not going to be the same,” he said. “The kids on the floor are still going to play basketball. I think they are able to tune it out. If you’re in it, you’re in it. We’re just pretty grateful that we get to do it. I saw a lot of guys out there talking to each other, and it was great to see.”

The Southern Lakes Conference championship seems to be within reach for the Demons in 2020-21, as they feature seven seniors including first team all-SLC pick Joey Berezowitz.

Burlington lost 6-foot-6 center Dylan Runkel and three other strong seniors from last year, when they went on an 11-game win streak after a slow start.

“We are excited to have a lot of players who have court experience from the past two years,” coach Berezowitz said. “This year’s team will need the seven returning seniors to pick up the leadership from last year’s group.”

Along with Joey Berezowitz and Safar, Burlington seniors Kornely, Dietz, Kyle Hackbarth, Sean Diggins and Ben Rummler will lead the charge.

They sprinkle in 6-foot-6 center Danny Kniep and sophomore J.R. Lukenbill, another big at 6-foot-4, provides versatility on the wing.

New to varsity are juniors Jack Tully, Gage Peterson, Ashton Hensley, Keegan Skiles, Zayne Koehnke and Tanner Sylvester, and freshman Connor Roffers.

Overall, coach Berezowitz understands things could be shut down at any minute. Safety will be important this season.

“I think under the COVID guidelines we just realize that we need to be adaptable above all else,” he said. “We are truly all just grateful we get the chance to compete.”

For now, the goals aren’t about winning the title or getting to state.

“Honestly, our goals are pretty simple. We will do the best to keep ourselves and our team healthy, but the ultimate goal is to simply enjoy the opportunity that we have been given,” Steve Berezowitz added.

To read the full version of this story see the Dec. 10 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

 

Schedule

(Home games capitalized)

December – 11: at Union Grove. 15: at Westosha Central. 18: ELKHORN. 21: LAKE GENEVA BADGER. 22: at Delavan-Darien. 30: RACINE ST. CAT’S.

January – 2: at Fort Atkinson. 5: WATERFORD. 8: at Badger. 12: DELAVAN-DARIEN. 15: at Wilmot. 16: St. John Northwestern at Brookfield Central. 19: UNION GROVE. 22: WESTOSHA CENTRAL. 26: at Elkhorn. 29: at Waterford.

February – 2: MUKWONAGO.