Girls basketball: Burke sets school scoring records in Husky win over Cottage Grove

Benny Westcott

Senior Brooke Burke had a record-breaking night of basketball in the Huskies’ home opener against Cottage Grove on Dec. 2.

In the game, which Sweet Home won 51-36, Burke scored 39 points, setting a single-game scoring record for the Huskies. And with a bucket in the second quarter, Burke also became the first Sweet Home girls basketball player ever to score 1,000 career points, according to former SHHS Athletic Director Larry Johnson.

The previous single game scoring record was 37 points, set by Sally Aiello during the 1997-98 season.

Burke said her shots were “really hitting” in the game. “The game before, I was struggling a little bit with my shots, but I got my form down, and I was just getting good looks,” she said.

Burke said she was aware of the record going into the game because last year she got 35 points in a game against Newport on Jan. 25, and was informed afterwards that the record was 37.

“I was like, ‘Shoot, I got pulled for the whole fourth quarter. I probably could have beat that,'” she recalled.

This time around, Burke said “Someone said something to me in the game but I kind of blocked it out, because I don’t like to know my points in a game.”

Then, in the game’s final minutes, “During a free throw, my mom looked at me and kept holding up a one and saying one more, one more,” Burke said. “So I was like, ‘I should probably go get a bucket,’ and then I stole the ball. And then I heard my grandpa yelling and got really excited, because it’s a cool thing to do.”

Head Coach Michelle Knight said she was “really surprised” that Cottage Grove didn’t come out in the second quarter and double team Burke, “and double team her all night long.”

“They gave her plenty of room to shoot. She’s going to take those opportunities, and she did. She was on fire.”

Burke said that after breaking the record, “I felt appreciated. Because a lot of hard work goes into my basketball career, so seeing it pay off this year, especially in my second game, made me feel very happy and content.”

She noted all the people that came up to her after the game offering congratulations. “The whole town’s so supportive,” she said.

The senior said she set the goal for herself to score 1,000 career points as a freshman.

“I saw that most accomplished high school basketball players had that, so I figured I wanted to set myself up for that goal,” she said.

She has put in time in the offseason throughout her career, improving her game. As a sophomore she played for the now defunct Marathon Athletics club team out of Springfield, traveling to California and Utah with that squad. This summer she played for a club team in Salem called The PAC, traveling to tournaments in Washington and one as far as Las Vegas.

Burke said she wanted to thank her parents for “always letting me play basketball, for clubs and all that. And going out of town and flying me to different states to challenge myself in basketball.”

She said consistency was the key to her scoring 1,000 points. “If you don’t have consistency, you just won’t see as many results,” she noted.

Knight emphasized Burke’s work ethic.

“She’s very self-driven and self-motivated, and she’s a very, very hard worker,” the coach said. “She will stay late or come early or both if she needs to work on something. She wants to be successful and she works really hard at it. I can’t take credit for how hard she has worked. I’ve just been lucky to be in the front row watching.”

Knight added that Burke is

“always the first one at practice. She sweeps the gym floor before every practice and makes sure all the nets are lowered. She does this on her own.”

As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect, a philosophy Burke has taken to heart.

“Shooting a basketball is muscle memory and she has shot and shot and shot,” Knight said. “She knows what she needs to do with her body as far as lining up her shoulders and squaring her feet.

“She works on all the little things. She doesn’t ever just passively shoot. She’s always actively working on basketball moves when we’re doing shooting drills, pretending that the defense is there if they’re not and practicing what to do with her feet. She just does all the little things all the time.”

For the Huskies, Burke’s work ethic is contagious.

“She motivates all the other kids and is a leader,” Knight said. “She’s a great kid. She’s a leader in the school and a leader in the gym. She works harder than everyone. I’ve never seen her be lazy ever, or break down and just be goofy in a practice. She’s always taking practice very seriously. She’s a lot of fun too. But when it’s time to work, she works.”

Burke was 14for 27 from the field in the performance, including hitting seven of 13 shots from beyond the arc.

The Huskies took a 27-13 lead into halftime on the way to the 51-36 victory. Sweet Home outshot Cottage Grove from the field 46.5% to 26.4%. Both teams had similar turnover totals, with Sweet Home forcing 21 and Cottage Grove forcing 22. Freshmen Aubrey Newberry and Addy Vannice each had four points for the Huskies on 2/4 shooting.

“There’s still a lot of things that we need to improve on as the season goes on, but it was a great night,” Knight said of the game.

The win was a bounceback from Sweet Home’s first game, in which the Huskies lost 28-25 at Elmira on Nov. 30. Sweet Home was up 16-13 at halftime and 23-18 at the end of the third quarter, but Elmira handily won the fourth quarter 11-3 to get the victory.

The Falcons outshot the Huskies 26.3% to 18.2% in the game. Sweet Home had 18 turnovers while Elmira had 19.

“Our shooting percentage was really low,” Knight said. “We took a lot of good shots, but they just didn’t fall. Our shooting percentage was a factor, and so was our rebounding. It was a good game to see the things that we need to work on both offensively and defensively.”

Burke scored 15 points in that game on 4/19 shooting. Sophomore Kaylynn Mamac scored six points on 2-7 shooting while pulling down a team leading 10 rebounds.

The Huskies have two home games this week, hosting Molalla (1-1) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, and Hidden Valley (2-0) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.

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