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Bulldogs swept in rivalry

Jim Riggio

Stopping Christine Kepenekian is something every opponent the Burbank

High girls’ basketball team has faced the past four years has tried

to accomplish.


While all haven’t achieved the goal, some schools have done enough

to contain the senior and keep the Bulldogs from pulling out a


In Kepenekian’s final league home game of a stellar four-year


varsity career Thursday, visiting Burroughs played well and contained

the Burbank star to earn a 61-42 Foothill League victory.

“Not one person is happier to see her graduate than me,”

Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol said. “Our players contained her and she

had to work hard for her points.”

Kepenekian, who figures to play in college, finished with 18

points and 13 rebounds, despite being held scoreless in the first



“Even when they key on her, she comes through,” Burbank Coach

Ricky Hawthorne said. “At first, she was emotional and it was hard

for her. She plays hard and gives 110%. I’m glad to have coached her

the last two years.”

The Indian victory earns them a season sweep of the Bulldogs, who

fell to Burroughs Jan. 24, 57-51, in a league game at Burroughs.

Burroughs (14-13, 3-7 in league) received an outstanding

performance from its junior star Tulyah Gaines, who like Kepenekian,


had 18 points. Gaines also had six rebounds and six steals.

“If we had stopped her, we would have had a better chance to win

this game,” Kepenekian said of Gaines. “I have a lot of respect for

her. She blows by half the team and she has a great pull-up jumper.”

Despite the loss, Burbank (12-14, 1-9) is guaranteed a spot in the

CIF Southern Section playoffs because of its 12 victories. The

Southern Section grants automatic postseason berths to teams with 11

victories, even if they do not finish among the top three in league.

The Indians are also headed to the playoffs, having secured 11

wins before league play began.

Nicol is hoping the playoff selection committee takes into

consideration the strength of the Indians’ schedule when it makes its

pairings this weekend. The Indians have faced two teams that are

ranked first in their respective divisions -- Santa Margarita

(Division IIIAA) and Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (Division IVAA) -- as

well as Brea Olinda, which was ranked No. 1 in Division IIA for much

of the season.

The Indians also had to face Hart, Saugus and Valencia twice in

league. All three teams are ranked among the top 10 in their

respective divisions.

“I think we’ll get a good draw,” said Nicol of his team, which is

ranked No. 10 in Division IIA. “I think we’ve got a lot of respect

from a lot of people.”

In light of Kepenekian’s first-quarter struggle, Burbank tied the

score at 7, until Burroughs went on a 7-2 run to end the quarter.

The Bulldogs were never able to recover, as Burroughs built a

38-20 halftime lead.

“We took a lot of pride in winning this cross-town rivalry, and

you saw that from the kids today,” Nicol said. “We’ve had a lot of

injuries, but now most of our kids are back and you’re starting to

see them play the way they are supposed to play.”





Burroughs 14 24 17 6 -- 61

Burbank 9 11 14 8 -- 42 *--*



Gaines 18, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Galindo 10 and 10 rebounds,

Zavala 8, Rico 4, Dennis 9, Davies 5, Stephan 5 and 9 rebounds,

Byrne 2. * Three-pointers: Zavala 2, Davies


Kepenekian 18 and 13 rebounds, Quintero 10, Galeas 6, Brown 3,

Perrello 2, Sullivan 1, Crouch 1, Issakhani 1. * Three-pointers:

Quintero 2