BURBANK — It was somewhat of a litmus test for the Burroughs High girls’ basketball team as it faced a highly ranked nonleague opponent in between Pacific League action.
Saturday afternoon’s home game with undefeated St. Bonaventure was also a tale of two halves, as it played out.
The Indians played better than the 64th-ranked team in the state, according to MaxPreps, in the second half, but a slow start and mishaps in crunch time did Burroughs in, resulting in a 51-49 defeat.
“We weren’t playing well at the start,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. “It’s a learning process. We’re learning. It’s that time of the year to improve so it can pay off later.”
The Indians (10-2) have won three of their first four league games and will play Pasadena before competing in a tournament hosted by St. Bonaventure on Dec. 22.
Indians’ upcoming opponents will likely be as formidable as the Seraphs.
“Hopefully,” Oganyan said when asked if Saturday’s game will better prepare the team down the road. “That’s the goal.”
Against host Burroughs, the Seraphs (11-0) took advantage of 32% shooting from the field in the first half by the Indians, as the visitors took a double-digit, 34-21, lead into halftime.
Burroughs trailed by 16 in the second quarter before a pair of three-pointers from Sophie Hawkins kept the game within striking distance.
Faith Boulanger’s drive and runner at the second-quarter buzzer carried some momentum into the second half.
Boulanger finished with 10 points before fouling out in the fourth. She and Camryn Lotka (five points) were instrumental in Burroughs cutting the deficit down to six, 42-36, going into the final eight minutes.
Noor Fahs’ field goal 1:43 into the fourth quarter gave the Indians their first lead since the opening basket, 43-42. Jillian Kukawski (six points) hit a three-pointer on the team’s next possession.
Burroughs’ highest lead would be four, as St. Bonaventure never relented. Despite not scoring in the final two minutes, the Indians held the lead until a pair of Haylee Carpenter free throws gave St. Bonaventure a 50-49 advantage with less than a minute to go.
With seconds to play, Kukawski was blocked on a three-point attempt. Burroughs sent the Seraphs to the line with 3.8 remaining. Estelle Leon made one of two at the stripe to make it 51-49.
The Indians had trouble inbounding the ball from under their basket, but maintained possession to inbound the ball again, this time from half-court with less than two seconds to play. Fahs (six points) penetrated but was stripped and could not get a shot up, as the final buzzer sounded.
“We played better in the second half,” Oganyan said. “Better defense, better energy. We picked up our defensive effort.”
Kayla Wrobel led Burroughs with 14 points, including six of the team’s seven first-quarter points. St. Bonaventure’s Abygail Hall led all scorers with 18.
Burroughs resumes Pacific League play Thursday at home against Pasadena.