ARCADIA — The Arcadia High boys’ basketball team did things a bit differently against Burbank High in a Pacific League game Tuesday at Arcadia.
The Apaches went with more man-coverage on defense in an attempt to unease the Bulldogs, and for the first half of their game the approach paid off.
But Burbank used the defensive scheme to its advantage and pulled away in the third quarter to upend Arcadia, 71-66.
“I didn’t think they were going to play us man, they usually play us zone,” Burbank coach Ernest Baskerville said. “It was a good game. We have a lot of injuries. Miles [D’Agostin] got hurt at practice last night and just still nursing some other kinds of things.
“But it’s league. When you play somebody a second time it’s going to be different, and my thing is: you win by one, you win by 20 — it’s still a win. That’s all I want. I want to walk away with a victory.”
The Bulldogs (14-8, 5-4 in league) started with a three-point play from junior Ben Burnham, but the Apaches went on a 7-0 run until midway into the first quarter for an early 7-3 lead.
Burbank regrouped with play-making help from junior Leo Tahmasian, who tallied four assists in the first quarter.
“They weren’t helping a lot so it was just a bunch of open kicks, and that’s what opened up the rest of the game for me,” Tahmasian said. “They kept stayed thinking I was going to pass so I had a couple of open layups at the rim. Once they saw that, they would duck and my shot opened up, so it was taking what the defense gives you and doing what you can with it.”
The Bulldogs junior finished with 19 points and 10 assists, while two other players finished in double-digits scoring: Erik Harutyunyan with 12 points and Burnham with 11.
“We have to look at things through a certain lens and try to tell them to focus on the second season, which is league,” Baskerville said. “We have to play strong in the second season so we can make the third season, which is playoffs.”
The Apaches (10-10, 1-7) regained their lead at the 7:32 mark in the second quarter on a Jalen Harris layup to give Arcadia a 17-16 advantage.
The Apaches’ lead stretched to 21-16 with 6:34 left in the second quarter before a Jared Pasion free throw broke the Burbank scoring slump.
D’Agostin hit a three-pointer at the 5:05 mark to tie it up at 23, and a pair of Tahmasian free throws gave Burbank the 27-25 advantage with 1:37 left in the half.
A three-pointer from Burbank senior Guram Dumbadze gave the Bulldogs a five-point lead, it’s largest of the half, before an Arcadia layup made it 30-27 at halftime.
“We moved the ball really well, and, defensively, we did a good job of denying their shooter getting threes and denying penetration,” Baskerville said. “We have this thing where we don’t like them driving up the middle, so if you’re going to try to beat us, you’re going to have to try to beat us sideline or baseline.”
Arcadia pulled to within one point at the start of the half, but Tahmasian hit a jumper just seconds later to start a Burbank 11-1 run that set up a 41-30 lead.
“It was just about keeping focus and playing our game,” Tahmasian said. “Coach gave us some defensive pointers and we stuck to it the whole game. When we’re play our game, it’s hard to beat us.”
The Apaches woke up late in the third quarter and a pair of put-backs from Holden Nash made it a 48-42 deficit going into the final quarter.
Arcadia senior Sean Liu knocked knocked down a three-pointer with 3:46 left to cut the Burbank lead to 62-61. The Apaches could have taken the lead with a pair of free throws from Rasheed Parris, but the senior missed both.
The two traded scoring before Tahmasian nailed a pair of free throws with 19.8 left to make it 70-66.