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Burden sisters power Carle Place

Carle Place girls basketball players (from left to

Carle Place girls basketball players (from left to right) Leah Burden, Kacey Burden, Elissa Frein, and Alexa Frein.

Basketball runs through the veins of the Burden family.

Sisters Kacey (a senior) and Leah (a freshman) are starters for the Carle Place girls basketball team. Their older sister, Sam, plays for Thomas Aquinas. That’s where Kacey is headed after the season, too.

Their youngest sister, Renee, also plays, and the expectation is that the sixth grader eventually will join Leah on varsity before she graduates.

Kacey says Sam was the first in the family to pick up a basketball, adding that the sport has worked as a means of bringing the four sisters together.

“We try to scrimmage each other,” she said. “There’s definitely a sense of competition in us.”

Kacey and Leah are the Frogs’ leading scorers this season. Kacey, a 5-9 forward, is averaging 10.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Leah, a 5-5 guard, is averaging 10.1 points.

They’ve been a dynamic pairing for the Frogs (4-1) in Nassau ABC, and their success can be attributed to how hard they can be on each other.

“I definitely give her a hard time,” Kacey said of Leah. “I’m trying to do it for the best of her, and she knows it.”

“I do talk back a little bit,” Leah said. “But it’s all positive. I know it’s going to help in the long run.

The Burdens aren’t the only pair of sisters on the Frogs. Elissa (a senior) and Alexa (a sophomore) Frein are valuable role players for Carle Place, averaging 5.7 and 5.3 points, respectively.

“It’s fun having family on the team,” coach Michael Bello said. “They praise each other more. It makes it a lot more fun for me to watch. You see the excitement in the sisters’ eyes when the other one does well.”

Alexa starts at guard next to Leah, and while the young backcourt doesn’t have much experience, Elissa said they’ve already shown the ability to step up and lead a team that won a Long Island championship in Class B last season.

“Even though they’re young, they have a lot of talent,” she said. “They have good communication skills. It’s just great having them together. They have a great connection with each other.”

Alexa was called up from junior varsity at the end of last season for the playoffs, and she credits that experience for her success this season.

“Last season when I played it intimidated me a lot,” she said. “In the beginning of this season it overwhelmed me. But now that we’re halfway through the season, it’s been better.”

Leah and Alexa will be without their sisters next season, and both older players believe that they’re ready to step in and take the reins.

“[The team] is in great hands,” Elissa said. They have great girls coming up. But I think Leah and Alexa will be great.”

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