NICHOLASVILLE — Burgin coach Ray Daniels knew if his team did not get tougher on the glass, it was going to be a quick postseason for the Bulldogs.
East Jessamine was hanging in early by crashing the boards, but the Burgin girls held their own over the final three quarters and forced East Jessamine into a 30 percent shooting night to pull away for a 48-31 win in the 46th District Tournament semifinal at East Jessamine.
It’s the third straight season the Bulldogs have advanced to the 12th Region Tournament.
“That first quarter I thought we gave up too many second-chance opportunities. And I told them the one thing that’s going to keep us from winning this game is our rebounding. Either we clean it up or it will be a dogfight to the end,” Daniels said. “And we cleaned it up, and in the second and third quarter we were able to push that lead out.”
Summer Burke scored 11 points to lead a balanced attack for the Bulldogs (13-14), who were outrebounded 31-20 but forced 22 East Jessamine turnovers and held the Jaguars (17-8) to just five field goals over the second and third quarters to increase their lead.
“After the first quarter coach pulled us out and said they were killing on the offensive rebounds,” Burke said. “That’s why the last couple of games were close with them. So we just focused on blocking them out and playing defense.”
Randi Burke had 10 points, Liz Marcinek had nine and Taylor Sanders and Libby Dismeaux added eight points apiece for Burgin, which led 21-15 at halftime before breaking the game open in the third quarter.
Dismeaux’s bucket in the post capped an 11-2 run and gave Burgin a 32-17 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter. Dismeaux had four points during the run, Sanders had a 3-pointer and Marcinek had a fast-break layup.
Layups from Randi Burke and Marcinek gave Burgin a 36-19 lead, and the Bulldogs went into the fourth quarter up 36-24. Of their seven buckets in the final period, four came after a one-and-out possession by East Jessamine and another came after Sanders took a charge from Sarah Rainwater.
Burgin was 7 for 11 from the floor in the quarter and finished 20 for 46. The Bulldogs were 2 of 9 from 3-point range, but made just six of 20 free throws.
East Jessamine was just 11 of 36 from the field, 2 of 13 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 at the line, and its 22 turnovers led to 10 Burgin points.
“Our press was effective. We weren’t trapping out of it but we knew if we were patient with it we could get some turnovers, and we did,” Daniels said. “It made for easy transition baskets for us.”
Burgin also had just 11 turnovers of its own, something else Daniels was pleased about.
“That was one of our keys going into the game,” he said. “We had to rebound and limit our turnovers.”
A free throw from East Jessamine’s Heather Welch got the Jaguars within 11 at 36-25 with 6:26 to play in the game, but they could get no closer.
Marcinek scored inside after the Bulldogs worked the clock down, then Summer Burke his two free throws and Marcinek another to push the lead back to 41-25 with 3:40 to go.
Tied at 10 after a quarter, Marcinek gave Burgin the lead for good 28 seconds in the second quarter on a layup to key an 11-2 run. Sanders capped the spurt with a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it a 21-12 game with 2:37 left in the half. Burgin accomplished most of the run with Randi Burke and Marcinek sitting with foul trouble.
“We have faith in our bench,” Daniels said. “We knew we were going to have matchup problems, that’s the reason we went zone there, to try and avoid those (fouls). And we were able to play good solid 2-3 zone there and get stops and go into halftime with the lead.”
46th District Tournament
At East Jessamine
Burgin 10 21 36 48
East Jessamine 10 16 24 31
BURGIN (13-14) — Summer Burke 11, Randi Burke 10, Liz Marcinek 9, Tessa Perez 2, Libby Dismeaux 8, Taylor Sanders 8.
EAST JESSAMINE (17-8) — Maddie Haney 2, Sarah Rainwater 5, Emilie Hatfield 12, Emma Young 9, Heather Welch 1, Carlie Harrison 2.