RAPID CITY — A 38-point performance from Paiton Burckhard was nearly squandered by Aberdeen Central on Thursday night against No. 3 Brandon Valley. But the defending champion Golden Eagles managed to fight off a fourth-quarter push from the Lynx and hang on for a wild 51-43 win.
It was a mammoth performance from Burckhard, who knocked down 15 of 24 shots, did not attempt a single 3-pointer and hit 8 of 10 free throws. She also pulled in 10 rebounds to pick up the double-double.
Burckhard was the lone Golden Eagle to score in double figures. Melia Mounga notched eight points, while Emma Yeske pulled in 10 rebounds. Mounga was the only other player to knock in multiple field goals for Aberdeen Central.
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Brandon Valley picked up 10 points apiece from Krista Bickley and Trinity Law.
Burckhard hit a pair of free throws to give Aberdeen Central a 16-point lead with 2:01 left in the third, but then Brandon Valley started to claw its way back, using buckets from Lexi Ellingson and Ashley Wells to cut the score to 38-26 heading into the fourth.
The Lynx controlled play to start the final frame, using a 15-4 run to pull within a point with 3:25 left.
Burckhead accounted for the game’s next three points, but those were quickly wiped out by Ali Woodward, who nailed a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to bring the margin back to one.
But that would be the Lynx’s last points of the night. They missed their final three shots from the field, which allowed Aberdeen Central to put the game on ice with six consecutive free throws.
No. 6 Aberdeen Central advances to face No. 7 O’Gorman, which upset No. 2 Roosevelt in the day’s first quarterfinal.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .