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Burrell girls beat Deer Lakes, earn Section 1-AA title

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 10:58 p.m.
Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro dribbles past Deer Lakes' Nichole Kearns (5) and Hope Schreiber on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. (Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch)

Burrell wrapped up the Section 1-AA girls title with a 43-32 victory over Deer Lakes on Thursday night.

But the Bucs (19-2, 10-0) aren't done reaching their goals. It was the fourth section title in the school's 42-year basketball history.

“After losing here last year in overtime, that was definitely a goal of ours,” said Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski. “I think we've been waiting an entire year to come back here for this one.”

Up next, the Bucs, No. 2 in this week's Trib Toal Media Class AA rankings, can get into the 20-victory plateau with a nonsection victory over Mount Pleasant on Saturday night.

But Thursday's victory wasn't easy. Deer Lakes (17-3, 8-2) continued its hot shooting early with Nichole Kearns hitting a trio of 3-pointers that propelled the Lancers to a 17-9 advantage with 6:08 left in the first half.

Deer Lakes coach Dana Petruska noted her team was coming off hitting 14 3-pointers in a nonsection win Monday against Carlynton and 12 more last Friday in a victory a over playoff-bound Jeannette.

Burrell's defense helped turn the tide, however, with a series of steals in the second and third periods, including three by sophomore Sydney Bordonaro that each led to baskets.

“I think it was our nerves at first, then we played some solid ‘D,' a few quick steals then it was into a good transition,” Ziemianski said. “I told our girls you can't give (Kearns) good looks; that's where she's good at.”

The Bucs took a 21-19 lead at the second quarter buzzer on a follow by freshman Natalie Myers.

Nichole Kearns picked up her third personal foul in the second period, and her sister, Danielle, was able to pick up some of the scoring slack despite playing with an illness.

Burrell pulled away to a nine-point lead late in the third period when Jessica Cercone missed the first of two free throws, but a lane violation was called against the Lancers. Cercone then hit two free throws, putting the Bucs on top, 35-26.

Deer Lakes played well defensively in the fourth period, forcing five Burrell turnovers, including two when Burrell was trying to run out the clock. But the Lancers couldn't convert those miscues into baskets.

Both teams shot well from the free throw line. Burrell was 8 for 12, while the Lancers hit all eight attempts from the foul line.

Myers collected eight rebounds for the Bucs, while Cercone added seven.

Burrell finished with 15 steals.

Deer Lakes, fourth in this week's Trib rankings, is in the WPIAL playoffs for the fifth time in the last six season and will have a final postseason tuneup will be Friday night at Latrobe. Nichole Kearns finished with 11 points.

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