Wildcats stick it to foes thanks to their glue guy

David Burns is the type of point guard most championship teams possess

Special to The StateMarch 5, 2010 

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Shaq Roland gets the headlines with his drives, dunks and big shots. Corey Hendren is the long-range sharp-shooter who isn't afraid to jack it up from anywhere.

But make no mistake - David Burns is the one who makes it all go.

Lexington's senior point guard is an instrumental reason the Wildcats are playing in the Class 4A state championship game for the first time in 10 years. Lexington will face Gaffney at 8:30 tonight at Colonial Life Arena.

Burns - the only Lexington player to start all 30 games - receives little notice. But those who matter most realize his importance to the team. When the Wildcats dropped three of four in December, Burns was one of the more vocal leaders during a 20-minute players' only meeting.

Lexington has won 10 in a row and 15 of 16.

"He's the glue to it, without question," Lexington coach Bailey Harris said. "He's in great physical condition, and he's strong. But more importantly, he's mentally strong and mentally tough. I've never seen a good team that didn't have a point guard that was a coach on the floor."

Roland said it is Burns who guides Lexington's attack.

"He makes everybody better," the sophomore said. "He knows when to push it and knows when we need to step back and slow it down a little bit. He controls the game for us."

At first glance, Burns looks like the boy next door. Blonde hair sits atop his 6-foot frame, and he might come across as a laid-back kid. But don't let that fool you - he can be the aggressor when need be.

That goes for teammates or opponents.

"David is the kind of guy that, every now and then, he will grab somebody and get in their face a little bit, but do it in the right way," Harris said. "He leads by example."

Burns likes having that responsibility of dictating the temp of the Wildcats' offense.

"I try to be a good leader for the team. I try to lead everybody and keep them on the right track," he said.

He certainly was able to do that in the Lower State championship game.

When Goose Creek's DeVontae Wright opened the contest by drilling a 3-pointer, he talked trash all the way back down court. Burns quieted him with a 3 of his own on the next possession and set the tone for Lexington's 72-61 victory.

Burns averaged 11 points a game during the regular season, but in the playoffs he's been on a tear. In the past three games, he has averaged 20.6 points.

"With our team, if we have the right matchups, I will take it and score," he said. "But if we don't have the right matchups, it's my job to pass the ball around and get it to the people that do have good matchups. Throughout the playoffs, I've had good matchups and been able to score."

Burns said Monday that is hadn't set in that the Wildcats would be playing for a state title. But he said it would hit him soon enough.

"You always dream about it," Burns said. "We have a good team and have a chance, but now we're actually here, and it's an indescribable feeling. It will hit me as soon as we walk into the Colonial Life Arena and see all those people and realize, it's our time now."

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