Burke closes all-state hoop career

Robby Burke experienced plenty of highs during his athletic career at St. Edmond.

Burke, a senior who was recently named to the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Class 2A second team, was part of two state runner-up Gael teams.

This past fall, Burke was a vital member of the St. Edmond football squad that finished second to Iowa City Regina, while he also started on the 2012 basketball team that earned silver.

On the hardwood, Burke turned himself from the No. 4 option to the leader for St. Edmond head coach Adolph Kochendorfer. He averaged 22 points and 12.6 rebounds, helping the Gaels to the substate final.

“I played AAU basketball (in the summer) and that really helped to prepare me for this past season,” Burke said. “I played with a lot of different guys from around the state and saw really good competition.”

Burke and the Gaels were unable to get back to the elite eight these past two seasons, including a heartbreaking defeat in overtime to South Hamilton.

“It just wasn’t in the cards for us,” he said. “We played as hard as we could.

“You can’t just expect to qualify (for state) each year. You have to work hard to make it.”

The focal point of opposing teams, Burke still found a way to record double-doubles in nearly every game this season. He finished his three-year career with 1,005 points and 584 rebounds.

His career point total placed him in a tie for eighth on the all-time scoring charts with Jim Collins.

“Robby really developed his game over the past couple of years, and his ability to pass out of constant double and triple teams made us a better team,” Kochendorfer said. “He dedicated himself to becoming a very good basketball player, and that is what he is.”

Burke is planning to continue playing basketball next year, but has yet to decide on his exact college plans. Along with his INA honor, he was also voted unanimously to the all-North Central Conference first team after helping St. Edmond finish second.

While some who plan to make the move to college basketball give up other sports to focus on one, Burke did not. He was a starter on the defensive side of the ball, recording double-digit tackles.

He also made two receptions for 29 yards as a tight end in a run-first system under SEHS head coach Dick Tighe.

“I have always played football and liked it,” he said. “I wanted to be as active as I could be so I played.”