Lady Demons must replace big names

Cheyenne Matson delivers a shot through traffic in recent action. Burlington is 0-4 to start the season, one year after finishing second in the Southern Lakes Conference. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

Two decades ago, Lyle Foulke enjoyed success as the Burlington girls varsity basketball coach.

Now, his grandson is taking over the program.

It isn’t the ideal situation for the green head coach, who’s in his early twenties and has never been a varsity head coach.

But Kyle Foulke isn’t sweating the odds.

His squad is 0-2 after two lopsided losses in the young season, but he already notes a marked improvement.

“We took big strides forward today, we gained a lot of experience and it showed,” Kyle Foulke said Friday night after a 75-40 loss at Muskego, three days removed from a 40-point season-opening home loss to Division 3 Walworth Big Foot.

Former head coach Mary Parker, who improved the team’s record each year of her five-year run, stepped down a few months back to focus on teaching and continuing as a varsity volleyball assistant coach.

The program is in a major transition, with not only a new coach but also the fallout from losing all-time leading scorer, rebounder and assist-maker, along with steals leader Jessa Burling, perhaps the best girls hoopster in school history.

Another starter from last year, Amelia Crabtree, isn’t out for the team this year, and Cora Anderson, Caitlin Matson and Cassidy Askin are the only three players that saw any significant varsity time last season.

Last year’s 15-8 record and 11-3 SLC mark will be hard to best, but Foulke sees the fresh slate as a golden opportunity.

“Our biggest strength is our work ethic and defense. We have great leaders in our senior class. Lauren Kelly is a great leader and role model, any team would be lucky to have her,” Foulke said.

Through two games, Matson is averaging 12 points, and her sister Cheyenne added nine in Friday’s loss.

Anderson led all Demons with 12 points against the Warriors.

According to Foulke, other key returning players include senior Isabelle Roe, junior Claire Walby and sophomore Tessa Teberg.

Along with key sophomore Cheyenne Matson, fellow second-year student Jordan Krause will join the varsity rotation.

Right now, playing experience is lacking, but Foulke sees a hungry group willing to sacrifice to improve.

“Our biggest weakness is our lack of playing experience,” he said. “We just have not played enough in the off season. The girls work extremely hard and want to win, and will get better each game.”

Nick Bartlett, a former boys volleyball standout for the Demons, will be the main assistant coach.

With Waterford the clear-cut favorite to win the Southern Lakes Conference, it could be a rebuilding year for the Lady Demons.

Through four games, the 0-4 Demons are averaging 20.5 points per game.

Tonight, Burlington travels to Elkhorn (4-0) for its Southern Lakes Conference opener.



November – 27: at Racine Horlick. 30: at Elkhorn. December – 4: KENOSHA BRADFORD. 7: UNION GROVE. 11: at Waterford. 13: at Prairie School. 14: LAKE GENEVA BADGER. 18: WILMOT. 20: at Oregon. January – 4: at Westosha Central. 8: at Jefferson. 11: at Delavan-Darien. 18: ELKHORN. 25: at Badger. February – 1: WATERFORD. 5: at Wilmot. 8: WESTOSHA CENTRAL. 14: DELAVAN-DARIEN.