By Nathan Cambridge
The nonleague schedule for Burroughs High girls’ basketball is peppered with powerhouses to give the Bears valuable experience playing elite teams in preparation for the postseason’s arrival. Next on the list of potent foes was Torrance Bishop Montgomery.
“In a short season like this where we haven’t had any summer games, we need to able to play against [talented] people to get better,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “I think playing against these teams is the best way to prepare for the playoffs.”
Against the Knights, the Bears were in control early but saw the game slip away against a withering defense from visiting Bishop Montgomery, which captured a 46-32 victory Thursday evening.
“[Bishop Montgomery] is definitely a pressure defense, which is something we need to improve on going against,” Bear senior Faith Boulanger said. “That’s been a struggle for us even last year, but I feel, with our talent, if we put our minds to it we can become a team that can handle that pressure eventually.”
Burroughs (3-3 record) came out strong and won the first quarter, 12-8. In the opening stanza, Isabella Roderick was strong inside. The sophomore scored the Bears’ first six points and finished the frame with nine points.
“She had one of her best performances,” Oganyan said. ”It’s encouraging to see some of the younger girls [do well].”
However, after the first quarter, Bishop Montgomery (3-2) ratcheted up its defense, putting constant pressure on the hosts the rest of the way, leading to 26 Burroughs turnovers. The Knights, who play in the CIF-Southern Section’s top-tier Open Division, limited Burroughs to 10 points in the second quarter and then yielded just 10 points in the second half.
“[Bishop Montgomery] started the game pretty relaxed,” Oganyan said. “I don’t know if they thought it was just going to be a walk in the park, but after I think they realized we were here to play, they definitely picked up their defensive pressure, which I was expecting.”
No Bear reached double digits in points, with Roderick and Dyani Del Castillo both tops on the team with nine. Boulanger added six points. Kayla Wrobel contributed five points and Noor Fahs had three. Fahs also contributed two steals and two assists.
Bishop Montgomery’s high scorer was Cyriah Coleman with 10 points while Hannah Perez added nine.
Burroughs, ranked No. 9 in the most recent CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA poll, did excel in the rebounding department. Wrobel had a team-high nine boards. Boulanger and Roderick each tallied seven rebounds and Del Castillo pulled own five.
“I thought we did a good job rebounding defensively,” Oganyan said. “I [also] think our length and our two-three defense bothered the other team. I think they usually score in the 60s, so we made it tough for them to score.”
There is no rest for the Bears, who play each of the next two days, starting with a visit to Muir in Pasadena to open the league season and then hosting Studio City Harvard-Westlake.
“We’re just happy to be out here playing and we have five weeks,” Oganyan said. “Like I said [to the team], you can be tired for these five weeks but then you are done. We’re just trying to get the most we can out of these five, six weeks we have.”