BURROUGHS HIGH — The Pacific League boys' basketball game between rivals Burbank High and Burroughs came down to the final minute Friday night.
But despite scoring just one point in that final minute, it was the Bulldogs who ultimately prevailed, 55-52, in front of a ruckus and capacity crowd at Burroughs.
In a game that saw four lead changes, it was the final one taken by Burbank early in the fourth quarter on an Andy Yanikyan basket that would not be relinquished.
“This is the first time all season that we have played with confidence in the fourth quarter,” said Burbank first-year Coach Jerry DeLaurie, who got a team-high 23 from Yanikyan. “They really felt like they were going to come back.”
DeLaurie’s squad improves to 12-8 and 4-3 in the Pacific League. Burroughs drops to 12-7, 2-5.
“It was a tough win, and a big game for us,” Yanikyan said. “We have a new team, a first-year head coach and I’m proud of the guys. We really pulled it out.”
The senior center scored 10 of his 23 points in a second half, a stanza the Bulldogs went into trailing by five after Burroughs’ stellar second quarter.
The Indians trailed by as many as eight points in the first quarter, but stayed composed enough to score the first six points of the second quarter and 14 of the first 16 to take a 27-20 lead. The Bulldogs responded with six unanswered points before Burroughs stopped the bleeding and closed out the quarter with a five-point lead.
The Indians sustained momentum and didn’t trail in the third quarter despite Burbank tying the score on two occasions. Malik Johnson’s runner at the buzzer after a Lawrence White missed dunk attempt on the other end gave the Bulldogs new life going into the fourth.
Burbank capitalized on both ends, as their aggressive defense resulted in a 9-2 run to start the quarter. Richard Elmoyan’s basket with 1:14 remaining after Burroughs’ John Cutone three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 54-51 lead.
With under a minute to play, Kalen Verhoeven made one of two free throws to cut the Burbank lead to two. The two ensuing Burbank possessions ended in turnovers and gave the Burroughs offense an opportunity to tie the score with 20.7 seconds remaining.
White would drive to his spot inside, elevate and get a good look from the baseline, but he couldn’t put in his 20th point of the game. The senior captain finished with 18.
“We were going to chase the action out — two-man game to find the shooter and we just didn’t execute,” Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg said. “We found too many ways to lose this one. They earned it with all the free throws and offensive rebounds.”
Elmoyan finished with 11 for the Bulldogs. Both teams had two players in double figures in scoring, as Burroughs’ Verhoeven scored 12 points. Jorge Flores Pere added six points in his first game back from injury.
The two Burbank-area squads will close out the Pacific League season at Burbank Feb 7.
“Hats off to Burroughs, first and foremost,” DeLaurie said. “I just think our resiliency — when it comes down to close games — we can pull through. It has been a big week for us, and our kids are getting an identity.”