There are no easy baskets when you have to play five games in a seven-day span but Stanhope Elmore’s Brooke Burkett never gave up. The Mustangs struggled against some of the toughest competition they have seen all season but Burkett showed little signs of fatigue, giving Stanhope a glimmer of hope in the midst of a five-game losing streak with the postseason on the horizon.
“That’s a lot for us because it runs our legs down,” Burkett said. “There’s nothing you can do about it though so you have to keep going — just play the next game up.”
Burkett lived up to that, leading the Mustangs with 11.4 points per game with 8.0 per game coming in the fourth quarter. Burkett is the Elmore County Player of the Week.
“When she is in her rhythm, she can score with the best of them,” Stanhope coach Kelvin Stokes said. “She’s a tremendous basketball player.”
During the five-game losing streak, Stanhope Elmore faced four teams with a total of 49 wins. Burkett did not back away from the challenge despite her team being down by large margins in the second half.
The further the Mustangs fell behind, the more aggressive Burkett became and Stokes said that is the killer instinct he wants to see more often.
“That’s mainly when she tries to turn it on but we need her to get going in the first quarter,” Stokes said. “If she can do that, it will take away the stress on the back end of the game. Sometimes she has to come down and take the easy play even if it’s just pulling up right away because that can be a good shot for her.”
Burkett knocked down 14 3-pointers in those five games. She is the primary option for the Mustangs offense but when she is not shooting, Stanhope finds it difficult to compete with high-powered offenses.
“I tell her every night that she has to get going early,” Stokes said. “Sometimes she is not aggressive early in the game but we don’t have that much scoring with our guards. She has to find her rhythm and that’s what we try to do.”
When Burkett finds her shot, it is difficult for opposing defenses to slow her down. Burkett scored nine of 13 points in the second half of Thursday’s loss to Selma and followed that up by scoring all six of her points in the second half against Jeff Davis on Friday.
Burkett scored 12 of 17 points against Prattville on Saturday in the fourth quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers in the process. She capped off the week with a 16-point performance against Carver on Monday night, scoring 10 in the fourth quarter.
“Some games I’m on and some games I’m off,” Burkett said. “My team helps me get the ball around the perimeter so I can shoot. I try to get open because whenever I’m hitting, I’m hitting.”
The offensive side is not the only place where Burkett can thrive. Her defensive pressure often results in transition opportunities for the Mustangs which was on show against Carver when she recorded four steals.
“Her defense makes her offense go,” Stokes said. “When she just stands around on defense, the offense isn’t there. She just has to continue to do what she does.”