GLENDALE — A thrilling and tightly contested affair between Pacific League opponents Hoover High and Burbank that saw 12 tie scores and five as the largest lead naturally came down to the final seconds.
While the game literally came down to the final shot, it was in the waning seconds where the Bulldogs prevailed to win, 57-56, in front of a near capacity crowd at Hoover High School Friday evening.
Trailing, 57-54, the Tornadoes misfired on two three-pointers, but Argin Sarkisian cleaned up teammate Teo Davidian’s miss and was fouled on the put-back.
Unfortunately for the Tornadoes, the three-point play could not be completed and with one second on the clock, there was only time for one low-percentage tip-in for the game winner, but it would be the visiting Bulldogs coming away with the win.
“One of my administrators told me ‘You keep working hard and you’re going to win the close ones’” said Bulldogs Coach Jerry DeLaurie, who saw his team lose two games this week to Muir in overtime and then Crescenta Valley by a combined 10 points. “After two tough defeats, how many teams fold? Burbank doesn’t lay down. How does a team respond like that on the road in a hostile environment?”
Burbank (11-13, 5-7) didn’t make a field goal in the final 51 seconds and scored two points in that stretch, but a five-point lead with less than a minute remaining proved to be substantial enough and just out of reach for the Tornadoes in their final home game of the season.
“I rather lose by 40 than by one or two,” said Tornadoes Coach Jack Van Patten, whose team dropped to 13-11 overall and 4-8 in league play. “They got a few more boards and are bigger and more physical. We didn’t have rhythm offensively and that’s my fault.”
Hoover led on five occasions in the second half, but never by more than three points — the final one being 47-46 after two free throws from Davidian, who led the team with 15 points — all in the second half. Burbank’s Richard Elmoyan answered with a three-point play that gave the Bulldogs a 49-47 advantage and a lead that would be sustained.
The two seniors and captains for their respective teams were matched up against one another. After being held scoreless on zero-for-four shooting in the first half, Davidian connected on three from behind the arc in the second half, and assisted Sarkisian for a lay-up with 26 seconds left in the game that cut Burbank’s lead in half to 56-54.
Elmoyan made one of two free throws on the other end, setting up one final possession for a Hoover squad that fought hard throughout the game, but came up just short.
“We could have won it, they could have won it,” Van Patten said. “I feel for bad for Argin, but if you go back, you’ll see that we missed more free throws and made some mistakes.”
Sarkisian was one of four Tornadoes in double figures, with 10, matching Arlen Moradi. Chris Sarkisian added 11.
The first half saw seven ties and three lead changes, as neither team could gain separation. It was more of the same in the second half between two teams that are fifth and sixth, respectively, in the league standings.
Hoover will play its final two games on the road, traveling to Crescenta Valley and Glendale. Burbank will host Glendale before traveling to Burroughs Thursday to close out the regular season.
“It was a tough week and we overcame it,” DeLaurie said. “Our motto for this game was ‘Finish,’ and I think we did that.”