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Hart Is Child’s Play for Vahoviak : Girls’ basketball: She returns after daughter’s birth and helps Burroughs to a 48-43 upset.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

With her team clinging to a late lead and the starting point guard having fouled out, it was up to host Burroughs High’s Jamie Vahoviak to handle the fierce defensive pressure thrown at her by Foothill League kingpin Hart.

Could she handle it?

“I was in labor for so long, I feel like I can survive anything,” said Vahoviak, who gave birth to a daughter on Dec. 27 and returned to the Burroughs lineup Saturday night for her team’s 48-43 victory.

The loss snapped Hart’s 24-game league winning streak and created a three-team logjam at the top of the league standings. Hart (12-5), Burroughs (8-9) and Saugus are 3-1 in Foothill play.

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“No one believed they could do it,” said Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol, whose team was decimated before the season even started.

First came the news of Vahoviak’s pregnancy. Then the defection of starters Christie Russell and Elizabeth Vejar to club volleyball. The Indians lost their first five games.

“Everyone wanted to talk about who we didn’t have and they forgot who we did have,” Nicol said.

Nicol’s plan was to play Vahoviak only a few minutes at the most.

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However, the senior all-league guard played seven minutes in the first half, two in the third quarter and the final 7 1/2 minutes.

Vahoviak was forced to handle the ball-handling duties when point guard Joyce Lau fouled out with 4 minutes 50 seconds left.

Hart led by eight points early in the third quarter, before Burroughs went on a 12-2 run to take a 27-25 lead on Lau’s two free throws.

Burroughs led, 32-30, after three quarters and extended the margin to as many as 11 points before settling for the final margin.

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Hart, which shot 27% on 13 of 48 attempts, trailed, 45-34, in the final two minutes when it mounted a comeback.

Forced to foul, the Indians lost LaCresha Clark (15 points), Wendy Downen (11) Jamie Broneer (seven) and on disqualifications, which blunted their charge.

Janelle Simon scored 13 points for Burroughs and Suzy Babko, its top scorer, added 10.


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