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Burbank boys’ basketball storms to league win over Hoover

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Burbank’s Vartan Avetisyan drives to shoot against Hoover in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover on Friday.
(Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

GLENDALE — The Burbank High and Hoover boys’ basketball teams looked to start the new decade on a high note as the Tornadoes hosted the Bulldogs in a Pacific League contest Friday.

However, it was the Bulldogs that found space around the basket, and eventually their offense began to click from the perimeter as the Tornadoes tried to counter their opponent’s size.

Burbank used its momentum to pull away for a 59-38 win over Hoover, backed by double-digit scoring from senior Kevin Sarkes and sophomore Elmer Reyes.

“It just goes back to the fundamentals,” Burbank first-year coach Sid Cooke said. “We really just have to keep working on our fundamentals. We’ve gone up in a lot of games that we lost. It was just the fundamentals that killed us, so we have to get back to that and get back to the basics.

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“Every time we do something good, something bad happens. We’ll get it right sooner or later.”

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Hoover’s Derrick Eliasi drives for a layup against Burbank’s Elmer Reyes in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

Reyes finished with 15 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter. Sarkes added 11 points (six in the second quarter) and JG Lambert pitched in with nine points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs.

The Tornadoes were led by Derick Eliasi, who poured in 18 points. Sophomore Jeremiah Townsend chipped in with 11 points for Hoover.

The teams struggled to score in the opening minutes of the game, but it was Burbank (2-2 in league) that took a 4-0 advantage on the back of a steal and lay-in by Bulldogs senior Ben Burnham.

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Hoover (3-12, 0-4 in league) got into a scoring run with six straight points following a string of free throws for a 6-4 lead with 3:42 left in the first.

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Burbank’s Ben Burnham brings the ball up court with Hoover’s Jeremiah Townsend trailing in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

The Bulldogs took a three-point lead with 2:24 remaining in the first, but the hosts closed out the frame with another 6-0 run to surge ahead,12-9.

Burbank marched out to a 9-0 scoring spurt to open the second period for an 18-12 lead before Anthony Van Patten scored a three-pointer to end the Hoover scoring slump.

Eliasi scored the Tornadoes’ final basket of the half with 1:27 left before Burbank added five consecutive points for a 26-17 halftime advantage.

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As Hoover’s Jeremiah Townsend drives on an attempt to score, Burbank’s Vartan Avetisyan gets a touch on the shot to deflect it from scoring in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

The Bulldogs took advantage of their presence in the post with six points in the second quarter coming from Sarkes.

“We’re small, so we have no room for error,” Hoover coach Jack Van Patten said. “But there’s going to be errors when we have to get in front of people.

“We missed a lot of shots. It was a winnable game for us, but there aren’t too many high school games that you’re going to win scoring 38 points.”

Burbank built on its lead to start the second half and led by 11 early in the stanza before Eliasi drove to the basket twice to score a pair of layups and to pull to within 30-23 with 3:58 left in the third.

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The Bulldogs continued to mount pressure and scored six unanswered points to establish a 38-25 lead going into the fourth.

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Burbank’s Kevin Sarkes gets inside to shoot against Hoover in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

Reyes scored Burbank’s opening 11 points of the fourth quarter, starting with a three-point play and followed that with a three-point make for a 44-27 lead.

“My shots weren’t really falling in the first half,” Reyes said. “So I decided to be more aggressive and drive to the rim. My coach always wants me to score, but my shots weren’t falling, so I needed to find another way to get to the rim.”

The sophomore drove to the basket twice for a pair of layups, then assisted Nigel Dixon on a shot from mid-range to give Burbank a 51-29 lead with 4:43 remaining.

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Hoover’s David Khourdadjian pulls down a rebound against Burbank’s Armen Nazarian in a Pacific League boys’ basketball game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

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