PASADENA -- Lawrence White scored 29 points to lead the Burroughs High boys’ basketball team to the Pasadena Poly Tournament title on Saturday night, but it was a key defensive play and a rebound by the senior point guard late in the contest that was the main difference in the Indians’ 72-69 win over Maranatha.
White sank two free throws to give Burroughs (4-0) a three-point lead with 17.5 seconds left, then stole the Minutemen’s ensuing inbounds pass, which led to another possession and two more free throws for teammate Hanoak Amanios.
After Amanios made the first to make it a two-possession game, White flew into the key to secure a rebound on Amanios’ miss of the second attempt to essentially end the game and Maranatha’s comeback from down by as many as 11 in the fourth, led by senior guard Jeremy Major, who finished with 39 points.
“We knew that we had the lead, we just couldn’t maintain it, but we got the W and that’s all that matters,” White said. “[We’re] just mentally trying to get everybody focused on the same page to finish the game, but we’ve got a young squad and they’re coming around.”
Burroughs went up, 67-56, on a long two-pointer by White with 3:30 left in the game, but then saw the Minutemen pull out a 10-0 run over the next 2:14.
Major nailed a three-pointer with 2:09 to go that cut the lead to 67-63 and then made a free throw to cut the lead to one with 1:16 left after teammate Michael DeMeester converted on a basket in the paint.
Burroughs then turned the ball over, giving the Minutemen a chance to take their first lead since early in the third quarter, but Major’s three-point attempt from the corner with 34 seconds left was off.
The Indians would again lose the ball out of bounds on their next possession, but out of a timeout the Minutemen (5-1) couldn’t inbound the ball cleanly with 20.8 seconds left for their eight turnover of the quarter and 22nd of the game. This one would be the most costly as it led to an intentional foul and White’s two free throws that led to a three-point lead Burroughs would never relinquish.
“We were able to get close and make an opportunity, not just at the end, but earlier in the game,” Maranatha Coach Tim Godley said. “We’ve got a lot of young players, as well as some seniors, but I felt like it was kind of a mix [of things]. The turnovers affected us a lot, even up until the end.
“I told them, ‘I’m proud of you guys,’ because we were out several times in that game. We were down 10 in the fourth quarter with five minutes to go and we battled back within one.”
The Indians, who got 13 points and nine rebounds from Jorge Flores Pere, led at the end of every quarter, but the Minutemen usually had an answer every time Burroughs sought to pull away. Major hit a three-pointer to keep Maranatha within 22-16 at the end of the first quarter and DeMeester stuffed White’s drive attempt leading to a fast-break score for Zack Smalley late in the second to make it 32-31 at halftime.
But Major was held to just four shot attempts in the third period, where White took over with eight points on four of five shooting, including a tip-in with 40 seconds left and a jumper just before the buzzer that made it 57-48 going into the fourth.
“Today symbolized a lot for us,” Indians Coach Adam Hochberg said. “We’ve struggled a lot the last couple years in this program and it’s a bigger win than most people would think just because we were able to get kind of get over the hump.
“We’ve been in this situation before where we’ve outplayed a team for most of the game and circumstances happen, whatever it is, we call them distractions, and we have to avoid them at all costs.”