BURBANK — Before meeting their respective rivals for the first time this season, the Glendale and Burbank high girls’ basketball teams met in a key Pacific League match-up on Tuesday.
Going into the contest, the Nitros trailed the Bulldogs by one game for the coveted fourth-place spot in the standings, but after the game at Burbank High was settled, the Bulldogs created more separation while inching toward the top with a 54-38 victory.
“We came out and did what we needed to do,” said Bulldogs Coach Bruce Breeden, whose team was paced by Yazzy Sa’Dullah’s 22 points. “This was a big game — we were one game ahead of them for a playoff spot. It was a game we needed to have, I’m pleased, and now it’s on to Burroughs.”
Breeden and the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on a rough shooting night from a Glendale team that made 13 field goals in the game on 60 attempts and missed a slew of easy baskets — mostly layups that just didn’t fall.
“If I could explain it, I’d try to fix it, but I can’t even explain it,” said Nitros Coach Tania Adary, whose team fell to 2-4 in league play and 8-12 overall. “Losing focus is what it comes down to. We worked on it in practice and we came today like it never happened.”
Sa’Dullah tallied eight points in the first quarter and connected on two three-pointers in the frame, including one that gave the Bulldogs (12-8, 4-2) a 5-2 lead and one that would be sustained for the rest of the game. A 6-0 Burbank run to end the quarter carried into the early stages of the second quarter that saw a Sa’Dullah breakaway give the Bulldogs their first double-digit lead at 20-8 and prompted a Glendale timeout.
An Ivet Satorian (10 points) drive-in layup snapped the scoring streak, but Glendale’s struggles continued, as Satorian accounted for both of the team’s field goals in the second quarter. Burbank also went cold from the field during the final minutes and allowed Glendale the opportunity to go into halftime with momentum, but more missed layups negated it.
“In the first quarter we came out hard, transitioned and played well in the half-court,” Breeden said. “We didn’t get out nearly as much, but we did what we needed to do. Our focus on defense was to keep their big girl [Kristina Sahakian] off the boards.
Sahakian finished the game with another double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She scored nine of the team’s 21 points in a second half that saw Burbank lead by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before Glendale responded with 6-0 run to end it and go into the fourth quarter, trailing, 40-28.
Burbank’s Sharis Ghazeri came out aggressive in the fourth, earning two trips to the charity stripe where she hit all four free throws, and along with a Sa’Dullah basket shortly after, nullified Glendale’s run and left little doubt in the outcome. Ghazeri finished the game with 15 points.
“After the CV game, I started taking every game one-by-one,” said Sa’Dullah, referring to the Jan. 15 loss that has since preceded two consecutive wins. “I’m trying to help my team get the win, no more losses for Burbank. We’re trying to get a playoff spot.
“Our confidence is really high, not overconfident,” she added when asked about the team’s showdown with first-place Burroughs and the second half of the league season. “We’re going to take every play one by one and every quarter one by one.”
Glendale will travel to Hoover to take on the Tornadoes on Friday and then begin the second half of the Pacific League season at Crescenta Valley.
“One game at a time,” Adary said. “When we’re done with Hoover, we’ll look at film and make any adjustments we have to make.”