BURBANK — In a Pacific League girls’ basketball battle that showcased high-intensity defense and physicality at Burroughs High on Tuesday, visiting Glendale went blow-for-blow against Burroughs.
Midway in the fourth quarter, the Nitros erased a double-digit deficit and stormed back to tie the score against the Indians with three minutes remaining.
But Burroughs junior Dyani Del Castillo‘s hot hand wasn’t about to cool off.
Del Castillo knocked down her fifth three-pointer of the game to give the Indians a four-point lead with nearly two minutes remaining, and Burroughs broke away on a scoring run to win, 52-43.
The win avenged a 47-46 loss by Burroughs against Glendale on Dec. 10.
“I knew no one was going to run away with the game,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “I knew it was going to be a close game. Glendale is a really good team. Even when we had a 10-point lead, it doesn’t feel like a 10-point lead because you know the other team is going to make a run.
“I think some people stepped up and made some big plays, offensively, but we also got some big stops defensively.”
In a span of 1 minute, 31 seconds in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the Indians (17-5, 8-1 in league) outscored the Nitros, 9-1, on their way to a crucial victory.
Glendale (17-5, 6-3) received nine points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter from junior Areco Orujyan to tie it at 41.
A pair of free throws from Indians junior Faith Boulanger gave Burroughs the lead, 43-42, with 2:53 left, before Glendale senior Mary Markaryan pulled the Nitros within one after splitting shots at the line.
Del Castillo pulled up from three with 2:20 left to lift the Indians to a 46-42 advantage, before a layup from junior Kayla Wrobel made it a six-point advantage.
“I think we really gained momentum from that moment,” Del Castillo said. “From then, we were like, ‘OK, we got this.’ We all came together and came out with the win.
With 1:22 left, Noor Fahs went coast-to-coast to cap the Burroughs 9-1 run for a 50-42 lead.
“I’m so proud of our girls’ defensive effort and following the game plan,” Glendale coach Tadeh Mardirosian said. “My girls stepped up to play today. The score doesn’t do that justice. I think that was a very close game. It could’ve gone either way. Hats off to Vicky and her little alley-oop set that she ran to extend the lead. We got caught off-guard.
“Our defense kept us in the game. We made some great offensive plays, feeding the ball into the post to our big Areco. A lot of players got assists because of her ability to work the post.”
Del Castillo scored 18 points with five three-points for Burroughs, which is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division II-A. The junior also grabbed seven rebounds, with five on the offensive end.
Boulanger pitched in 10 points, Fahs contributed six points and four steals and Wrobel grabbed five rebounds and five steals.
“I think we were just really prepared from the start,” Del Castillo said. “We just wanted the win, so that’s why we played hard.”
Orujyan finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and senior Ani Boyajyan added nine points and tallied four steals for Glendale, which is ranked No. 2 in Division III-AA.
“We’ve been down about our ball movement and breaking the press,” Mardirosian said. “It’s become our Achilles’ heel. We’ve been working on breaking the press and moving the ball with minimal amount of dribbling, and every single girl that took the floor today stepped up to the challenge and moved the ball with confidence. Hence why against Burroughs, a lengthy, strong and physical team, we were able to get it up and get into some of our stuff.”
The teams’ defense held each other at bay in the first three minutes of the contest, though Burroughs hung on to a 2-0 lead for much of the quarter.
After seven lead changes in the opening quarter, a mid-range basket from Nitros senior Melissa Zamora gave Glendale a 13-11 lead at the end of the first.
Turnovers plagued the Indians at the start of the second quarter, but the Nitros were unable to pull away despite a three-point play from Boyajyan that put Glendale ahead, 18-15.
“We were just trying to move the ball,” Oganyan said. “I thought we got stagnant. Glendale is big. They’re really tall and lengthy. I understand where they have trouble seeing stuff, but every time we move the ball quickly on offense, we got open looks. Every time we were stagnant, held the ball and let them re-position, it was hard to score. We just talked about moving the ball and moving the defense.”
A three-pointer from Del Castillo set Burroughs up for a 9-0 run that was capped by another three from the junior for a 24-18 lead with 1:43 left in the first half.
A three-pointer from Nitros junior Arpa Baroni cut the Burroughs lead to 26-22 at the half.
After Markaryan opened the second-half with a layup to put Glendale within two points, Burroughs pulled ahead to its largest lead of the game, 34-24, at 4:41 in the third quarter courtesy of an 8-0 run.
Glendale climbed right back with its own 8-0 scoring spurt to pull to within 34-32 at 2:03 in the quarter, but a trio of free throws from center Sydney Martin have the Indians a five-point cushion at the end of the quarter.