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Burroughs girls’ basketball stays aggressive in win against Canyon

BURBANK — The Burroughs High girls’ basketball team did its best to compete in the post against a pair of towering centers from the Canyon Country Canyon.

Lob after lob, the Cowboys exploited their size advantage to take an early lead in the first half of a Burroughs Summer League game.

But the momentum changed once the Indians opened the second half with a pair of fast-break baskets.

Burroughs outpaced and out-muscled its opponent in the second half to record a 31-21 victory against Canyon at Burroughs on Tuesday.

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“I’m definitely really proud, as far as the summer goes, with how they’re developing in terms of their hustle and their effort,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “It’s from everybody, starting from Faith [Boulanger], our first-team All-Pacific Leaguer who’s going after every offensive rebound, all the way to our incoming freshmen. It’s contagious and I love it.”

Indians junior Kayla Wrobel and senior A’sia Morales led Burroughs with eight points each, while sophomore Noor Fahs added seven. Morales recorded three steals and Fahs had two. Boulanger, a junior, also had eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds in the first half.

Canyon senior Chidinma Okafor finished with 10 points and six rebounds and senior Lucy Collins scored six points.

“We don’t even have one [set] play and we have some new faces with us, so I think it takes a little bit to build that chemistry,” Canyon coach Jessica Haayer said.

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“The first half, we kind of got it going a little bit. I think we got a little tired. [We had] different combinations in. We stopped scoring for quite some time there. It’s still early on and, again, new faces in the program. Just trying to build some chemistry.”

Though the Indians outrebounded the Canyon, 7-4, on the offensive end in the first half, Burroughs was not able to capitalize on many of its put-backs.

Burroughs trailed, 8-5, midway in the first half, as Canyon’s two bigs, Okafor and Collins, made their way under the post to score. The two helped the Cowboys outscore the Indians, 6-1, and combined to score all 12 first-half points for Canyon. Okafor scored eight first-half points and Collins contributed four.

“We told them to pressure the ball a little more, defensively, and not let them get good positions,” said Oganyan, whose team finished with a 10-5 offensive rebound advantage. “Offensively, we did a great job outrebounding them. We had a lot of offensive rebounds and we just told them to stay with that.

“In the first half, we weren’t converting them, but we were dominating the offensive glass.”

Burroughs tied it at 8 with 7:39 left in the first half off a second-chance layup from Wrobel. With 4:40 left, Boulanger, who earned All-CIF Division II-AA second-team honors last season, drove to the basket to give Burroughs a 12-10 lead, its first since 14:47.

Okafor picked off a pass with 1:17 left to tie the score at 12 at halftime.

Burroughs opened the second half with a pair of fast-break layups from Morales and Fahs to establish a 16-12 lead.

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The Indians continued scoring off Canyon turnovers down the stretch with a pair of steals from Morales and eventually set up a 24-17 lead with the game’s only three-point make from Dyani Del Castillo at the 11:49 mark.

“We’re trying to get better with individual skills, so we don’t do as many team plays, but, definitely, being able to compete, playing defense, being aggressive. Those are the overall things that we try to teach,” said Oganyan of her team’s summer league goals. “Team cohesiveness, I think, is also really important. Those are our main focuses in the summer.”

Another basket from Wrobel with 6:24 left gave Burroughs its biggest lead of the game, 26-17.

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