By Nathan Cambridge
The boys’ basketball season usually allows John Burroughs and Burbank High to get two shots at beating their intracity rivals. However, this season has been so different in so many ways, including a condensed schedule containing just a single matchup to win city bragging rights.
In a competitive contest and high-scoring affair, host Burbank executed on offense to come away with a 90-80 win over the visiting Bears in the Pacific League finale for both squads.
“Today was our best game offensively,” Burbank coach Sid Cooke said. “We had some trouble defensively, but I think our guys played really unselfishly.”
For both teams it was the most points they have scored this season, as well as the most points either have conceded.
“This was the highest-scoring game we have given up defensively,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “Our defense wasn’t good enough today. We had different defensive schemes but our guys didn’t execute the game plan.”
In victory, Burbank (7-3 overall record, 6-2 in the Pacific League) had five players reach double digits. Junior Phoenix Mosley tied for the team-high honors with 24 points, split evenly between the two halves. Senior Vartan Avetisyan joined him with 24 points, which included nine points in both the first and final quarters.
“We knew they were a tough team, so we came into this and all played together,” Avetisyan said. “It was a great game. We played really good together.”
Elmer Reyes scored 17 points, with 13 coming after the break. Armen Nazaryan and Sattwik Banerjee each had 10 points, Ruben Karakulyan scored three and Kelton Shea added two.
For Burroughs (6-8 overall, 4-3 in league), Blake Ballard went off for a game-high 41 points. Ballard consistently contorted his body to make a wide variety of contested shots. In the first quarter, he had 12 of his team’s 20 points. He scored 25 points in the second half, 14 of which were in the final quarter.
Nick Schlander contributed 16 points, including 14 in the first half. TJ Lumpkin joined him in double digits with 14 points. Jack Nitszche added six points and Dami Mokuolu had three.
Burbank, ranked No. 9 in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIAA, shot the lights out in the second quarter, hitting 12 of 14 field goal attempts. Trailing going into the period, the Bulldogs took the lead on a high-degree-of-difficulty jumper from Reyes to make the score 25-24 with just over six minutes left in the half. The Bulldogs would not trail again.
The Bears had started strong, scoring the first 10 points of the contest, with six coming from Ballard. The visitors still had a 20-10 advantage with 1:15 left after a four-point play by Ballard, but then the Bulldogs scored the last seven points of the quarter, with the final basket being a corner three by Mosley.
Burroughs went on a 6-0 run in the final 1:19 of the third quarter and trailed, 65-59, entering the fourth. The Bears then drew to within one in the opening moments of the final quarter thanks to a layup by Lumpkin and a long three-pointer by Ballard.
However, Burbank came back with a jumper by Avetisyan and a reverse layup by Reyes to reestablish control.