BURBANK — Had the test stopped after the first 10 minutes of the half, the Burbank High boys’ basketball team would have passed.
But as the Bulldogs’ summer league game against Calabasas crossed the midway point of the first half, the Coyotes’ experience started to show with a smothering defense effort.
With the majority of the team lacking varsity experience, Burbank succumbed to a late scoring run in the first half as Calabasas pulled away for a 62-42 victory in a Providence Summer League game on Wednesday.
“I’m just really looking to see who knows the basics once they get to the varsity speed,” Burbank assistant coach Efrain Alvarado said. “In the first half, they started out well, but as soon as the game started to pick up pace, a lot of them kind of just abandoned what we teach them at practice. We really just want to see who can push through and can join the team on varsity next year.”
With much of their varsity players participating in other summer league basketball games throughout the week and sometimes on the same day, the Bulldogs fielded a team that lacked varsity experience. Alvarado was joined by Burbank junior varsity coach Chris Ortiz to help give the team a taste of high-level action.
“They struggle a lot with communication,” Ortiz said. “It comes along together with working on defense and offense, and they just have to learn to play as a team. We just have to take them out of running any offense that they set and play basketball as a team. They struggle with it a little. They have some things they want to do. They want to be the hero sometimes, but they have to learn to run the plays and find people.
“This is what summer is all about. We want them to learn. [Alvarado] and I have told them numerous times. Play basketball. Stop trying so hard to do other things perfect or make the perfect pass or an amazing shot.”
Shots fell at will for Burbank’s Hamlet Aslanian in the first half, as he scored 10 points in the opening four minutes to help the Bulldogs to a 12-4 lead.
The Coyotes responded with seven unanswered points to cut the Bulldogs lead to 12-11 at the 14:08 mark.
Though the Bulldogs regained a six-point lead, a layup from Calabasas guard Alex Gesas sparked a 8-0 Coyotes run to set up their first lead at 20-19.
Burbank quickly took a one-point lead less than a minute later, but Calabasas closed out the half with a 9-0 run to take a 30-24 advantage at halftime.
Aslanian scored a pair of three-pointers and two buckets from mid-range to close out with 12 points in the first half. He finished with a Burbank team-high 14 points, as the Calabasas defense picked up its intensity in the second half.
“We weren’t communicating on defense,” Aslanian said about the Calabasas scoring runs. “There wasn’t a lot of talking. Hopefully we’ll come back and better next game. Coach just told us to talk on defense and get back together.”
Calabasas started the second half with a basket from forward Greg Bostanian to extend the Coyotes’ lead to 32-25.
Burbank managed to cut the Calabasas lead to 40-34 with 13:16 left in the half, but the Coyotes continued to see their shots fall.
Calabasas outscored Burbank, 17-2, in a span of 10 minutes to establish a 59-36 lead with 3:18 left.
Bostanian finished with 23 points for Calabasas and Gesas added 17 points.
Armen Nazaryan contributed nine points and five rebounds for Burbank.