Bears Defeat Downey, Advance To CIF Semifinals

Photo by Eric Danielson / Burbank Leader
Burroughs head coach Victoria Oganyan has guided the girls’ basketball program to back-to-back CIF-SS semifinals appearances.

History repeated itself for the Burroughs High School varsity girls’ basketball team on Wednesday when it outlasted host Downey, 49-47, in a CIF Southern Section Division 2AA quarterfinal.

The Bears (14-8 overall record) advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive year and will host undefeated San Bernardino Cajon tonight at 7 p.m. The winner of the game will advance to the championship game and face the winner of the other semifinal between Mission Hills Alemany and Lawndale Leuzinger. The championship game is scheduled for Thursday, June 10.

“There were several times in the game we were down by eight or 10 points, but we were able to come back from that and execute in the end,” said JBHS head coach Victoria Oganyan. “These girls work hard and their work ethic showed.”

Much of that attitude and determination of the team comes from a strong core of seniors that have been with the program for years, including Faith Boulanger, Sydney Martin, Lauren Lucas, Kayla Wrobel and Dyani Del Castillo.

“Obviously they are a huge help with their experience,” Oganyan said. “They have a commitment to the program, to the culture and each other. … The Thing about this group is that they have gotten closer as a team and worked hard to get better every year by doing the training.”

Oganyan is just grateful to have had a season after being shut down for much of the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She set up a strong schedule to prepare her team for a postseason that she expected to be somewhat unpredictable because many teams were going to start peaking later in the abbreviated season.

“There are no easy games in the playoffs. There’s no such thing,” Oganyan said. “My team knew that, no matter if it was a home game or away or what seed, especially this year. The seeding doesn’t matter because nobody knew what team was what.”

Photo by Eric Danielson / Burbank Leader
Faith Boulanger (pictured in a game earlier this season) is one of the senior leaders who propelled the Bears to a 49-47 victory over host Downey in the CIF-SS Division 2AA quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Three of four remaining teams in the bracket, including Burroughs, did not rank among the top 10 in the division. As a 15th seed, Cajon defeated No. 2 Viewpoint and No. 7 Bonita of La Verne to reach the semifinals. The No. 11 Bears took down No. 6 Murrieta Mesa and a Downey squad ranked outside the top 16 that had earlier eliminated No. 3-seeded Tustin.

“They have some really good weapons,” Oganyan said of Cajon (12-0 overall). “We’re just going to have to show more of that grit. It’s really exciting for us to have a season, especially for my seniors. I’m glad they have been able to go on this run.”