NTL BOYS' BASKETBALL: TROY'S BURBAGE STEPPING UP IN THE MIDDLE
(2023-01-24)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
Troy’s gotten a lot of contributions from a lot of different players this year on the boys’ basketball team, but one player whose contributions may have been a surprise are from starting center JB Burbage.
“It’s a big jump,” remarked Burbage. “Last year I didn’t play varsity at all, and this year I jump right up to being a starter, so it’s kind of difficult to get used to but I think I’m starting to get used to it.”
To put it graciously, Burbage might be 6-foot-1, but he’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the best big men in the league - Wyalusing’s Blake Morningstar, NP-Mansfield’s Brody Burleigh - and has held his own against the two seniors.
“It’s a challenge, but coach puts a lot on me and I try to get the job done,” said Burbage.
He’s second on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game, and has had his fare share of big games - non bigger than his 30-point, 12-rebound performance in a loss to Shamokin, who is currently the top ranked team in District IV, Class AAAA.
Burbage has also flirted with triple doubles this year, getting nine points, 11 boards, and eight assists in a win over NEB.
That’s what sets him apart from other centers, his ability to kick out or find the angle to a waiting teammate down low.
“I really just try to get help to come over on me and I dish it off to Lance (Heasley), or Colin (Loveland), or Justice (Chimics) - any one of them,” said Burbage. “That’s my goal by the end of the year is to get a triple-double, obviously.”
The youthful Trojans have a shot to get a home game for the district playoffs, and can even make some waves in the NTL Division-I standings, but right now, they’re just focused on themselves.
“Me, I’m just focusing on trying to take the ball to the basket,” he said. “Just playing my game, really.”
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