Shawna Bruha

Junior guard Shawna Bruha averaged 10.4 points per game for Burnsville last winter.

The Burnsville girls basketball team will have some new faces on the hardwood this season.

The Blaze have three players back — seniors Savannah Islam and Lauren Servais and junior Shawna Bruha — who got significant varsity minutes last year in the team’s 7-12 season (6-11 in the South Suburban Conference).

Burnsville will have to replace six seniors from last year’s squad, including Morgan Krumwiede, who was a 1,000-point scorer.

The Blaze lost in the Section 3AAAA semifinals last winter, falling 53-40 to Rosemount. The Irish went on to take second at state in Class 4A, losing to Chaska in the title game.

Burnsville has just one winning season since 2011. That came in 2020 when the team finished with a 16-11 overall mark. The Blaze have won their last two section quarterfinal games after losing seven straight from 2013 to 2019.

So the program is headed in the right direction under coach Maurice Hodges.

“As always, we hope to compete in the SSC and also our section,” Hodges said. “The last two seasons we have earned a section home playoff game and advanced to the section semifinals. So going into this season, the main goal is for us to do the same and make it to the section finals.

“We have been focused more on the defensive end during the offseason, which should help us reach our goal,” Hodges added.

Rosemount looks like the team to beat in the SSC, while Eagan, Lakeville North and Shakopee will be strong contenders.

In Section 3AAAA, Rosemount will again be the favorite while Apple Valley, Bloomington Jefferson, Eagan, Eastview, Hastings and Park are also in the field.

Bruha was second on the team in scoring last year at 10.4 points per game. Islam averaged 6.6 points a contest, while Servais averaged 3 points.

The Blaze will need to find more scoring to contend in the SSC and in Section 3AAAA. Hodges said the strength of team will be its leadership and chemistry.

“Our captains have displayed the type of leadership that was lacking last season,” he said. “The coaching staff is impressed with the communication and them making sure we have that team mentality and not individual goals.

“With that being said, the strength of this team will be working together through the ups and downs by being there for one another even when things don’t go our way,” Hodges added. “We had a great summer and fall and now we need to put it all together during the winter season.”

Burnsville will open the SSC season Dec. 14 at Eastview. The first conference home game is Dec. 17 against Prior Lake.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.