All season long, Ricky Hawthorne has lamented his team’s inability
to start the second half as strong as it does the first.
The Burbank High girls’ basketball coach finally got the
third-quarter performance he had been waiting 15 games for Friday
And it came as a direct result of what Hoover Coach Jack Van
Patten said his squad could ill-afford against the Bulldogs: turn the
The Tornadoes committed 10 of their 22 turnovers in the third,
five coming in a 65-second span that resulted in nine Burbank points,
allowing the host Bulldogs to cruise to a 56-35 nonleague victory at
For the first 12 minutes, Hoover (7-8) had enough individuals in
the right place to play Burbank (10-5) to an 18-18 tie. But the
Bulldogs went on a 10-point run during the next 2:16 -- thanks to
four Tornado miscues -- to create some breathing room.
The enigmatic Arpa Gregorian tried to shoulder as much of the
offensive load for Hoover, tallying 14 of her team’s 20 first-half
points, along with six rebounds, three assists and a steal.
But Gregorian -- who finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and a steal -- didn’t score for 10:54, including all of the
third quarter, which allowed Burbank to stretch its lead to 41-23
midway through the period.
“I told the girls that they had two minutes to pick it up or they
were all coming out,” said Hawthorne, whose squad limited Hoover to
16-of-49 shooting, which helped compensate for his team’s 24-of-74
“The third quarter has been our Achilles’ heel all year, but it
was a little better [Friday]. They came out more focused and the
intensity and the press were much better than they were in the first
At the heart of Burbank’s surge was Christine Kepenekian, who,
despite battling flu-like symptoms, still scored a game-high 20
points and added 18 rebounds -- nine offensive -- seven steals and
Her effort was supported by a balanced game from point guard Roxy
Quintero, who finished with 14 points nine rebounds, five assists and
“We depend on Christine, there’s no doubt about that, but I’m
still trying to get her to trust her teammates more,” said Hawthorne
of his four-year standout, who is averaging 27.9 points a game.
“I still believe that we’re a better team when we share the ball
and play together, but there are times when we also need Christine to
take over. Even though she didn’t shoot that well, she’s a warrior
and she proved that [Friday].”
The Bulldogs surpassed last season’s win total and are one victory
away from qualifying for an at-large berth in the CIF Southern
Section Division IA playoffs, which they last appeared in the
Hoover 12 8 9
6 -- 35
Burbank 12 18 14
12 -- 56
Gregorian 17, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, Ash. Witkop 8
and 9 rebounds, An 7, Eskandari 3.
* Three-pointers: Eskandari.
Kepenekian 20, 18 rebounds, 7 steals and 4 assists,
Quintero 14, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, Perello 7 and 4
steals, Jackson 6 and 7 rebounds, Ovasapyan 3, Crouch 2, Singleton 2,
* Three-pointers: Kepenekian.