Amid the program’s quest for a first state title, the Aberdeen Central girls basketball team has had a pair of go-to players all season long in Brianna Kusler and Paiton Burckhard.
Although Kusler, a decorated senior (who earned Sanford Standout honors as a volleyball player this year), led the tournament in scoring, Burckhard was right there behind her.
Kusler scored 65 points in the Golden Eagles’ three-game winning streak — over all Sioux Falls teams — for the state championship. Burckhard finished with 64 points.
Few players in the state have presented harder guards on the block than Burckhard, this week’s Sanford Standout.
This season the talented sophomore led AC with 17 points and nine rebounds a game. Burckhard has good moves with her back to the basket, and as she showed with shooting over 65 percent from the field in Sioux Falls over the weekend, she knows how to finish.
The quality runs in her family, as both her parents are Aberdeen basketball legends in their own right. Her mother, Chris (Swanhorst) Burckhard, was a Northern State standout and NAIA D-II national champion with the Wolves in 1993-94. Father Kevin Burckhard was an impact player on some of NSU’s all-time teams.
- 6-foot | Forward
- Led team in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and 9 rebounds a game
- Named to Class AA All-Tournament team