PASADENA — When the Burroughs High boys' basketball team played defending Pacific League champion Pasadena earlier in the season, it was the Indians who brought the intensity and came away with a five-point victory at home.
In the second meeting between the teams Wednesday, the Indians realized they would have to again play with that same level of intensity if they hoped to earn a win on the Bulldogs' home floor.
However, it was Pasadena that came out fired up for the rematch and in the end, it wasn't even close.
Paced by a 26-point performance from Ajon Efferson, the Bulldogs were able to cruise to a relatively easy 75-50 victory against the visiting Indians.
The loss was the third straight in league for Burroughs (15-8, 7-4 in league) after finishing the first half of league undefeated and in first place. The Indians also lost to Crescenta Valley on Monday and Glendale on Friday.
On the flip side, the win keeps the defending-champion Bulldogs (15-8, 10-1) alone in first place in the Pacific League.
Efferson said an 82-77 loss to Burroughs on Jan. 15 served as motivation for him and his teammates.
"We didn't want to lose at home and I didn't want to lose on my senior night," said Efferson, who led all scorers and who tallied 20 points in the first half. "We made it a goal this year to win league and we only have a couple more games to accomplish that goal.
"I just thought we came out and played like a team. We all just stuck together and that made a big difference for us."
The game really didn't start getting out of hand for the Indians, who never led in the contest, until the second quarter and that was thanks to Efferson, a senior. The Bulldogs held just a 17-14 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Burroughs tied the score at 25 with 4:21 remaining on a basket by Rashid Ewing (22 points). But Pasadena came right back and took back the lead, 28-25 on a long three-pointer by Rajon Moore (21 points). The Indians then trailed by five, 31-27, with 2:52 remaining.
It was at that point that Efferson took over. He turned into a one-man show, scoring the game's next 11 points and sending Pasadena into the lockerroom at the half with a 42-27 cushion.
"We weren't executing our defense from the beginning, but we were still in the game in that second quarter," Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg said. "But what we did in this game is something we haven't done in a lot of games: lose our composure and turn the ball over.
"What it comes down to is that they have improved since the last time we played and we haven't. They weren't about to lose in their gym on senior night, so they turned the screws on us."
Things started getting out of hand for Burroughs in the third quarter, as Pasadena kept charging and there was nothing it seemed the Indians could do to stop it. After three quarters, the Bulldogs had a 61-38 lead.
Both coaches went deep into their benches in the fourth quarter, as the Bulldogs saw their lead swell to 32 at one point.
Amaad Wainright had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Indians.