BURBANK — The only thing standing in the way of a perfect Pacific League season for the Burroughs High girls' basketball team was one opponent.
However, that opponent was cross-town rival Burbank, which narrowly lost to the Indians by one point in the teams' first meeting in January.
But there was no late-game heroics needed by Burroughs on Thursday, as it secured that perfect campaign by defeating the Bulldogs on its home floor, 58-47, in the final game of the regular season.
It was the second straight title for Burroughs (22-6, 14-0 in league), which shared the title with Arcadia last season. Burbank (18-10, 10-4) finishes third in league behind runner-up Crescenta Valley (20-8, 11-3),
Not since Jan. 21 had the Indians played in front of their home crowd, reeling off seven straight road wins as part of a 14-game winning streak that swelled to 15 with the win over their rivals.
The rivalry game unfolded very differently than the 36-35 nailbiter Burroughs pulled out at Burbank less than a month ago.
The itch to give their fans something to cheer about became evident early on as the Indians jumped out to an 8-2 lead before two minutes came off the clock.
"We came out with a lot of energy," Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. "We haven't played at home in seven games and the kids were pumped up all day. We had a pep rally, so for them to come out and play in front of their fans again I think it pumped them up."
Six Indians put their names on the score sheet en route to a 26-7 first-quarter advantage. Senior Sidney Ortega paced the team with a three three-pointers and a pair of free throws for 11 first-half points. She finished with a game-high 18.
"The game was going our way and it only bumped up the pressure that much more," Ortega said of her hot shooting.
Though the game didn't play out according to Burbank's normal script, Burroughs put together another balanced effort with three players — Ortega, Brooke Radcliff (14 points) and Davina Del Castillo (10 points) — reaching double figures.
While the Indians came out firing, the Bulldogs struggled to find any rhythm against Oganyan's full-court press. The visitors managed just three baskets in the first quarter and went on several scoring droughts throughout the first half.
"We weren't ready to play," Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. "They wanted to go undefeated, they just came out and played harder than us."
Bulldogs junior Yazzy Sa'Dullah finally had a rough outing after averaging 18.5 points per game coming into the contest. Before Thursday, she had 11 consecutive games with at least 15 points, including a 32-point effort against Crescenta Valley last week. Though Sa'Dullah finished with a team-high 13 points, she was a non-factor for most of the game. Her first points didn't come until there were less than two minutes to play in the second quarter and four of her six first-half points came on free throws.
Sa'Dullah managed just two field goals the entire game and contributed just one point in the third quarter on a night when shots just weren't falling.
"She had a tough game," Breeden said. "If that's the only one she has all year, you know, every team we play box-and-ones her."
Indeed, Indians point guard Delaney Nicol hounded Sa'Dullah all game, causing the star player to clank several forced shots from deep.
"My point guard [Nicol] did a good job shutting down their best player, Yazzy." Oganyan said. "She got frustrated and kind of rushed her shots."
No other Bulldog rose to the occasion in absence of Sa'Dullah's usual scoring.
Samantha Ainian chipped in 12 points, five of which came in the fourth quarter, with the game already out of reach.
"[Sa'Dullah] wasn't making shots tonight and nobody stepped up," admitted Breeden.
The Bulldogs showed signs of life in the second quarter. Breeden employed his own press, which held Burroughs scoreless for four minutes and cut a 29-7 deficit to 29-18.
But Ortega dashed any hopes of a comeback with her third triple of the half and staked the Indians to a 13-point halftime lead. Burbank wouldn't get closer until there were just three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
"We made a little run in the second quarter," Breeden said. "We talked about what we needed to do at halftime and decided not to do it."
Burroughs senior Jakarra Waddell played a large part in preventing Burbank from mounting a comeback. She missed most of the first half because of foul trouble, contributing just two points, but provided assists on three of the Indians' first four baskets in the third quarter as the lead stretched to 20. She finished with five points and five assists.
"I wanted to keep the hustle up," Waddell said. "I didn't want my team to lose. I would do anything to make my team win."