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Burger’s big night powers Porter to National Conference title

_MG_8380Porter’s Lady Panthers show off their championship hardware Tuesday night at Heritage. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

She’s just a naturally happy kid.

Porter's Kaitlyn Burgers revels in another clutch basket Tuesday night.

Kaitlyn Burger celebrates a basket.

Kaitlyn Burger could have been playing for an NCAA championship Tuesday night, and you get the feeling it wouldn’t have made any difference.

The Porter fifth-grader scored a game-high 16 points on a variety of shots – celebrating each one with a refreshing show of excitement — and the Lady Panthers turned back Prospect, 28-19, in the National Conference championship game of the Blount County Elementary Basketball Tournament at Heritage Middle.

Karley Jo LaSorsa and Kaitlyn Wilkerson pumped in six each for Porter (11-0), which fought off a Prospect fourth quarter charge.

“They just didn’t give up,” Porter coach Kevin Burger said. “The girls just didn’t give up. They’ve done that all year.”

The Lady Tigers, who rallied from a slow start, were led by nine points from Harley Romines. Grayson Fleming had six for Prospect, Mollee French and Lylie Jones two apiece.

Prospect's Grayson Fleming goes up against Porter's Edin Davis.

Prospect’s Grayson Fleming goes up against Porter’s Edin Davis.

The Lady Panthers looked to have everything going their way after a quarter, LaSorsa, Wilkerson and Burger each contributing to a 10-3 advantage after one.

Prospect (9-3) carved steadily at the deficit the next two quarters. Romines, who kept the Lady Tigers within striking distance with her rebounding in the early going, found her shooting touch in the second half. To start the fourth, Prospect had cut the Porter lead to 22-14.

“It was a good second wind coming out of the half,” Prospect coach Stanley Fleming said, “but it’s very difficult to keep that pace for a whole half.”

That’s when Porter’s happy warrior – Burger – went back to work, pumping in all six of her team’s fourth-quarter points to make sure the Lady Panthers stayed clear.

“I felt frustrated and kind of nervous,” Burger said. “I just knew we had to get ahead.”


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