BURBANK – For the Burbank High girls’ basketball team, Wednesday’s game against Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy was a chance to see how it could manage without its top player.
Senior Yazzy Sa'Dullah, last season’s Pacific League co-Player of the Year, was observing Ramadan and did not play in the Burbank Summer League contest.
For the Tologs, the matchup was a chance to see how they would fair against a bigger program and a taller opponent.
Sacred Heart played even with the Bulldogs in the opening minutes. However, a lengthy scoring drought that began with nine minutes left in the first 20-minute half and continued for more than 11 minutes into the second half, opened the door for Burbank, which came on to notch a 33-23 victory at home.
“Playing in this summer league is a good experience for us,” Tologs Coach Ty Buxman said. “It’s been tough at times this summer, though, as I think we haven’t had the same five players on the floor for a game.
“But summer is for working things out and trying to put it all together. We have also installed some new things that we have been working on and it gives the new players some experience against good competition.”
Without Sa'Dullah, the Bulldogs received a fine effort from 6-foot-5 senior Anastacia Tsybaeva. Tsybaeva had to sit out her junior season and was relegated to the junior varsity team after her eligibility was denied after transferring twice prior to last year. The post player is also coming back after suffering partial tears in both Achilles last season.
Tsybaeva proved to be too much in the middle for the Tologs, as she scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had four blocks — all coming off the bench.
“When I was injured, I was trying to get better even though I really couldn’t work out that much,” said Tsybaeva, who spent her sophomore season at Bellarmine-Jefferson after playing as a freshman in the Burbank program. “I was trying to work on my upper body to try and get stronger.
“I’m just so excited to be out here playing with my teammates. It’s really great just to be able to contribute in a game.”
With Tsybaeva sitting on the bench, Sacred Heart kept pace with the Bulldogs early in the first half. When Lacey Fradet scored a basket at the 9:01 mark of the first half, the Tologs had the lead, 10-8. But then the Burbank defense tightened and Tsybaeva got hot.
The senior scored 10 points over the remainder of the stanza, helping the Bulldogs embark on a 12-0 run to close out the quarter with a 20-10 lead.
“I think our role players stepped up and did a good job tonight,” said Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden, who received six points from Christina Mkrtchyan and nine rebounds from Ani Sarkisyan. “They were able to do the small things that helped us win.
“We have been working on how we play when we don’t have Yazzy or when [Anastacia] is not in there. The key for us was our defense and I thought we didn’t give them many good looks at the basket.”
The Tologs, who converted just four of 23 shots (17.4%) in the first half, continued to struggle in the second. Sacred Heart missed its first six shots of the second stanza and endured a scoring drought of 20:22. From the first half into the second, Sacred Heart was outscored, 19-0.
The Tologs finally broke the drought with 8:39 left in the game on a three-pointer by Casey Johnson. By that time, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 28-13 lead.
Sacred Heart did whittle the lead down to single digits, 32-23, with 1:27 left in the game.
Jenna Tran had seven points and Camilla Homans had seven rebounds for the Tologs.
Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.