ARCADIA — The Burbank High girls' basketball team, sitting in third place in Pacific League play, had a chance to go on the road to knock off one of the league's co-leaders in Arcadia and climb the standings.
However, that would be a tall order against the Apaches, ranked No. 13 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I-AA poll, and it got even tougher when the Bulldogs lost starting senior Jamie Gonzalez early.
“We just thought that without having [Gonzalez] our team didn’t click as well,” Bulldogs senior Courtney Seidler said. “We were just out of sync.”
The Bulldogs hung in the game until the third quarter, which saw Gonzalez leave for the hospital on a gurney, as Apache senior Melody Chang dropped eight of her 27 points and Burbank fell, 58-38.
Gonzalez likely suffered a concussion, according to Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden.
Burbank was trying to avenge a 55-51 loss in overtime to the Apaches on Jan. 4.
“When our best shooter in the program goes out with a concussion and you watch your teammate be hauled off on a stretcher with an ambulance here, I think it’s pretty hard for the girls to handle, too emotional,” Breeden said.
Gonzalez was struck on the right side of her head at the 2:03 mark of the first quarter. The blow, which happened as the teams were making their way back down the court following an Apache steal, caused Gonzalez’s neck to snap back, sending her to the floor. She soon left the court under her own power.
Later in the first quarter, Burbank (11-11, 6-3 in league) took a brief lead, its only of the game, after a steal and lay-in by Ratiana Karapet, but Melody Chang hit a long jumper as time expired for a 14-13 Apache advantage after one quarter.
Arcadia (18-3, 8-1), with Gonzalez sitting on the bench holding ice to her head, seized control of the game by scoring the first eight points of the second quarter. Seidler kept her team in striking distance, accounting for five of their seven points in the frame.
Seidler had nine points at half, but Chang, who matched the Bulldogs with seven second-quarter points, had 13 and the hosts led, 29-20, at the half.
Chang hit a three-point shot to open the second half, which saw the paramedics arrive 22 seconds in, fit Gonzalez with a neck brace, strap her to a backboard and then wheel her out to the hospital with her team trailing by 10. After that, Burbank scored the next six points to trim the deficit to 30-26, but that would be as close as the visitors would get.
“As a team, we consider each other family,” Seidler said, “so seeing one of our family members leave hurt us all.”
In the final minute of the third quarter, Arcadia turned a five-point cushion into a 14-point advantage by scoring the last nine points, including seven by Chang, who had been held in check in the quarter with one free throw up to that point.
“We got tired, not enough people stepping up on the bench,” Breeden said of his team’s late third-quarter swoon.
The fourth quarter saw Arcadia build its advantage, peaking at 20, which was to be the final margin. Apache Caira Benton scored the game’s final points and was second on her team with 14 points.
The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Seidler with 13 points. The senior also pulled down nine rebounds. Junior guard Ashley Linda added 12 points and also had four assists. Senior Aja Locke, who was a monster on the boards, had 16 rebounds to go along with four points and two assists and junior Sharis Ghazeri was the team leader in assists with eight.
“We’re pretty sure it is a concussion,” Breeden said of Gonzalez’s injury, which was still very much on the mind of the Bulldogs post-game. “That’s why the paramedics were called in. We’ll find out more. We’ll go over to the hospital and see how she’s doing.”