Stopping Christine Kepenekian is something every opponent the Burbank
High girls’ basketball team has faced the past four years has tried
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
“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: