When City’s No. 11 girls basketball team needs points late in a close game, the Knights want the ball in Dyzhanay Burton’s hands, and she is happy to oblige.
The All-Metro senior point guard scored nine of the Knights’ last 12 points, including two 3-pointers, as they rallied to beat No. 7 Aberdeen, 56-49, Thursday at the 18th Annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State.
“That’s just my role,” Burton said. “I have to be the dominant one in offense, just as much as I am supposed to be in defense. I’m the leader. I’m supposed to step up in times like that, and that’s what I did.”
The Eagles, who had led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, had a 45-41 lead after Nazje Norton’s follow shot early in the fourth quarter. The teams then went four minutes without a point until Koraan Sydnor brought City within 45-43 with 2:45 to go.
Burton then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Knights (12-1) the lead for good, 49-45, with 1:20 left. Burton, Sydnor and Daisha Madden added a free throw each and Shamara Bell finished off an 11-point City run with a layup.
Aberdeen’s Stephanie Jones hit a pair of foul shots to cut the lead to 54-47 with 16 seconds left. The Eagles then fouled Burton, who hit both ends of the double bonus.
The victory avenged the Knights’ 73-45 loss to Aberdeen in last year’s Class 3A North regional championship.
The two-time defending state Class 3A champion Eagles opened a 6-0 lead to start the game, with all of the scoring coming from sophomore Jones, an All-Metro guard, who finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds. After City rallied to take a seven-point lead, the Eagles took off on a 22-4 run capped by a couple of free throws from Jones, who was 10-for-10 from the line.
Taylor Cole gave Aberdeen the biggest lead of the game, 29-20, on a follow shot to open the second half, but the Knights were much more in sync on offense and started chipping away at the lead. Burton’s steal and layup gave City a 40-39 edge, its first lead since early in the second quarter.
“Basically we had to talk a lot of things out [at halftime],” said Burton, whose team scored 20 points in the first half and 19 in the third quarter, “because there were a lot of mishaps and miscommunications. We were making minor mistakes. That’s what really killed us, but after we talked about it and cleared up some things, we were okay.”
The Eagles (8-5) got a boost from the return of point guard Kierra Palmer, who had been sidelined with a stress fracture in her left shin since mid-December. Palmer played less than half the game, scored just three points and had one assist, but the Eagles benefited greatly from her ball-handling skills and defense.
No. 11 City 56, No. 7 Aberdeen 49
A—Norton 13, Eller 4, Jones 25, Palmer 3, Cole 4. Totals 17 11-12 49.
C—Meyers 8, Burton 22, Bell 2, Ko.Sydnor 3, Muslim 8, Carrington 7, Madden 4, Ka.Sydnor 2. Totals 22 9-21 56. Half: A, 27-20