Second-half push lifts Burbank

Erik Boal

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


ball over.

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

four assists.

Her effort was supported by a balanced game from point guard Roxy

Quintero, who finished with 14 points nine rebounds, five assists and

four steals.

“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

1999-2000 season.


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,

Sullivan 2.

* Three-pointers: Kepenekian.