Paiton Burckhard is our fifth and final nominee for the Sanford Pentagon/KELOLAND Media Group female player of the year.
Burckhard finished her career at Aberdeen Central with two state championships, including going out on top this spring.
Paiton Burckhard leaves Aberdeen Central as the program's all-time leading scorer and with two state championships, but it's the championship the Golden Eagles missed out on that fueled the team back to the top.
"It was really kind of heartbreaking when we went our junior year and we didn't, we got third so we were definitely coming back for redemption so we definitely knew what we were going in for. We knew what it felt like. We had a lot of experience going into the state tournament," Burckhard said.
Burckhard and company completed the climb to the top with their second championship in three years, as the senior and her fellow classmates helped guide the Golden Eagles to a 23-1 record.
"Coming out as number one is literally what we had dreamed for since our 8th grade year when we started summer team camps with the high school girls. I mean it's just something you look forward to and actually being able to do it is great," Burckhard said.
The 6'0" senior averaged a double-double, 25 points and 11 rebounds per game, en route to capturing her second state title.
"You don't get those individual awards without a good team and good coaches so I mean it just all goes back to that and working hard and just it all plays, it's just a huge cycle. Everything has to work in order for the big thing to get there," Burckhard said.
As she closes her chapter in Aberdeen, Burckhard knows there's no place she'd rather be.
"I mean it's just awesome. We've got a lot of support throughout the years and honestly we couldn't have done, what we've done this year without them," Burckhard said.
"I'm very grateful of all the people I've gotten to work with. I've gotten to play with some awesome athletes so I mean I'm just very happy that I grew up in Aberdeen and I've gotten to be an Eagle for this long," Burckhard added.
Burckhard is excited to wear the same school colors next season as she continues her basketball career at South Daktoa State.
The female player of the year will be announced on April 7th during the All Star Banquet
at the Sanford Pentagon.
We'll begin announcing the male nominees for player of the year on Monday.
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