Lady Demons maintain 3rd place in SLC

Burlington senior Jessa Burling fights for one of her 23 rebounds Friday night. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

DELAVAN – Jessa Burling continues to etch her name in the Burlington High School record books – and her Lady Demons teammates are reaping the benefits in the win column.

On Friday night in Delavan, the senior point guard, already the school’s all-time leading scorer, added assists and rebounds to her list of milestones, and the visiting Demons rolled to a 47-36 victory after pulling away in the second half.

Burlington is now 9-5 overall and 5-2 in the Southern Lakes Conference, good for third place (Union Grove 7-0, Wilmot 6-1). It was the Demons’ second straight win.

Burling led all scorers with 25 points and hauled in a whopping 23 rebounds, while adding four steals and three assists.

Burling, who already this season became the school’s leading scorer and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau, was recently named the 2017 Western Racine County Female Athlete of the Year.

Her 210 career assists passed the previous mark of 207, and she now has 649 rebounds, which shattered the previous number of 637.

“I really didn’t know about the records,” Burling said. “We go out there and we just play. The assists and rebounds records aren’t really my thing, they’re team things. I won’t realize the significance of the records until the season is done. Right now, we’re just focused on winning.”

Burlington head coach Mary Parker said Burling makes her teammates better and tirelessly works on her game.

“It’s a testament to everything she does,” Parker said about Burling. “She does everything, she plays defense, she rebounds, she scores, she’s just a worker. That’s hustle right there. She does it all.”


Demons ramp up ‘D’ in 2nd half

Burlington’s suffocating half-court defense forced turnovers in the second half, which led to fast breaks and Burling and Amelia Crabtree breaking down the defense in the half-court offense.

While the Comets enjoyed a sharpshooting first half and only trailed, 30-20, at halftime, Burlington was able to switch to man-to-man defense in the second half. After a Jaida Speth bucket got the Comets as close as 34-27, the Lady Demons used a 11-1 run to build a 45-28 lead late in the game to pull away.

Crabtree was able to break down the defense and find Burling and senior Jackie Garwood, who added 10 points and eight rebounds. Also, swift ball movement around the perimeter set up a Caitlin Matson 3-pointer.

“We added a new defense, Buzz-X, which involves trapping,” said Crabtree, who added a steal at halfcourt and coast-to-coast layup during the Demons’ second-half surge. “We started slow, but we stopped making little mistakes and worked together really well.”

Parker said Burlington’s defense got more aggressive in the second half, and the offense spread out to create more interior opportunities.

“Despite a few too many missed layups, we created a little separation and got enough steals in the second half,” Parker said. “We focused on attacking more from the outside, so we could get going to the basket. We wanted girls to make reads with a dump-down pass at the end.”

With a month left in the season, an SLC title is still within reach.

What will it take?

“Our defense gets us the most hype we’ll ever be in a game,” Garwood said. “Every time we get steals and make the other team tired, it helps us on offense.”

Parker believes the Demons can hang with the best teams in the league, like Union Grove and Wilmot. It will take their best basketball.

“When we’re at our best, we’re one of the best teams and are extremely hard to beat,” she said.