SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It was a game riddled with fouls, poor shooting from the field and challenging shooting from the free-throw line.
When Glendale High and Burbank squared off in a Pacific League girls’ basketball game Monday afternoon, it became a matter of which team would be able to survive its own mistakes to come away with a victory.
Although the Bulldogs built up a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter, the Nitros whittled the lead down to three and had a shot to tie the game with a few seconds remaining. But Burbank was able to hold on and walk away with an ugly 39-34 win at Glendale.
“There must have been 50 fouls in that game,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “That was ugly. It was crazy. It was a very ragged game, but we were able to survive and get the win.”
Burbank (8-10. 4-1 in league) entered the game with just one defeat in the Pacific League, coming against Arcadia in overtime on Jan. 4. The Bulldogs were a bit leery of Glendale (9-7, 2-3), which defeated the Apaches, 42-38, on Jan. 7.
For most of the game, the Bulldogs had reason to be apprehensive. The Nitros stayed with Burbank for the first three quarters, and even when they fell behind in the fourth they battled back.
“I think we came in a little cocky and that might have hurt us,” Burbank senior Aja Locke said. “We didn’t play that well at all. But in the end we were able to play defense and that helped us.”
Locke provided a much-needed spark for Burbank. Along with scoring 14 points, she also had 10 rebounds and four steals.
For the Nitros, it was a matter of not being able to take advantage of their opportunities when the Bulldogs struggled on multiple occasions.
“We were being killed on the boards and that didn’t help,” Glendale Coach Tania Adary said. “We needed to get some momentum, but we never seemed to get any. There was a point where we couldn’t buy a bucket.”
The Nitros received a solid scoring performance from senior Erlin Keshishzadeh, who finished with a game-high 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals.
Keshishzadeh was even in a position to win the game late in the fourth after some outstanding defensive plays from the senior.
Burbank finally was able to create some breathing room in the fourth quarter when it went up by 10, 37-27, with 3:11 left on a basket by Sharis Ghazeri. However, Keshishzadeh led a charge back, making two baskets and three free throws — along with two steals — down the stretch.
When Keshishzadeh made a free throw with 1:26 remaining, the Burbank lead was just three, 37-34. When Burbank couldn’t score, the Nitros bought the ball back upcourt and tried to work for a shot. Keshishzadeh got open at the top of the key and launched a three-pointer with 45 seconds left. The ball went in the cylinder, but rattled back out and the Bulldogs got the rebound.
“We just couldn’t find any kind of rhythm,” Breeden said. “It was a tough night for us all around. But we’re happy to be leaving with a win,”
Burbank senior Courtney Seidler was able to sink two free throws with 17 seconds left to ice the win.
Although the Bulldogs came out cold in the first quarter, converting just one of 11 shots from the field, they were able to take a 7-6 lead after one. The Nitros converted just two of six free-throw attempts in the opening quarter.
Things stayed tight in the second, as Burbank went into the half with a 20-19 lead.
Glendale went cold from the field in the third, converting one of its 12 shot attempts. But the Bulldogs couldn’t take full advantage and went into the fourth up, 29-23.
“We were waiting for someone to spark us on offense, but nobody ever did,” Adary said.