tessa burke

Loyola's Tessa Burke drives the baseline against Florence's Autumn Round in 2016. The three-sport athlete has committed to play basketball for Eastern Washington.

MISSOULA — When Tessa Burke stepped off the basketball court in Ronan after Loyola Sacred Heart lost a heartbreaker to Florence in March, she knew she didn't want that game to be her last. 

Burke, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, scored a team-high 20 points for the Breakers in their loss 62-55 to the Falcons that ended Loyola's season. 

But with the bad came the good.

"It was frustrating not making it to state, especially for my senior year, but that was also when I decided that I wanted to continue playing basketball," Burke told 406mtsports.com.

Burke committed to play basketball for Eastern Washington on Tuesday via Instagram. 

"I went on my visit and I loved the team. I loved the coaches," Burke said. "... Only being three hours away, my family and friends can come watch me. Also being able to play in the Big Sky. I grew up watching the Lady Griz and all these teams in the Big Sky, so that was one of the deciding factors too."

Burke said there were several schools interested, including Denver University and Cal Poly, as well as a bunch of smaller schools. 

But her decision to choose basketball wasn't an easy one. 

Burke is a three-sport athlete at Loyola in soccer, track and basketball. And she's earned all-state honors in all three. 

The choice she had to make was between soccer and basketball, but at the end of the day, basketball was the right call for her. 

"My mom told me that when I started playing basketball I told her that it was my dream to play in college," Burke said, adding that she started playing the sport at eight. "... I've played on a ton of teams and put in more work toward basketball and I love soccer too, but it's always been my dream to play in basketball. It's finally reality."

She added: "It was hard, but I'm happy with my decision."

Loyola's been behind her every step of the way too. 

Burke said since she committed her phone's been buzzing constantly with calls and texts. 

"I love the small-school feel and how great our community is at Loyola," Burke said. "I had so much love and support even outside of basketball. Definitely going to miss that, but I've still been feeling the love, especially now committing and I know that everyone will be supporting me."

Burke plans on majoring in business marketing and minoring in design. 

Burke has yet to sign a National Letter of Intent and she said she's not exactly sure when that will happen.

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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