Boys Hoops: Auburn sets up all Rockford regional final

Auburn 68, Boylan 65

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – Auburn’s Josh Ausler won a fourth-quarter scoring duel with Boylan’s Johnny Close to lead the Knights to 68-65 win Wednesday night.

Ausler scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter at East High School to hold off the Titans, who trailed by as many as 12 in the second half. Ausler was especially deadly in the final three minutes.

Close, who scored 12 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter, hit a step-back 3-point shot to give the Titans a 62-60 lead with a little over two minutes to play. Ausler immediately responded with a step-back 3 of his own to regain the lead. The teams traded possessions before Ausler hit a free-throw line jump shot with about one minute left to put the Knights up three.

Auburn’s defense kept Boylan from getting a clean shot to tie.

The win improved the Knights’ record to 18-14 and sets up a Friday night final showdown with the NIC-10 champion East E-Rabs. The Knights will be seeking their eighth IHSA regional title since the 2008-2009 season, while the E-Rabs (30-2) are looking for their third under coach Roy Sackmaster and first since the 2011-2012 season. R.

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