BURBANK — The Burbank High girls’ basketball team’s strength and stature stood its ground against host Providence in the 22nd annual Providence Pioneer Shootout on Tuesday.
In a semifinal game at Providence High, the Bulldogs were able to out-muscle and out-maneuver the Pioneers with tough rebounds from seniors Osanna Tirityan and Sofia Aslanyan.
The two combined for 29 of the team’s 46 rebounds as Burbank defeated Providence, 54-40, to earn a spot in Wednesday’s final.
“We’re going to be strong against a lot of teams inside the key,” Burbank coach Bruce Breeden said. “The first reaction the girls had was ‘oh, they’re starting five guards.’ So it was really simple — just go inside. [Providence] came out small, so we felt like we can defend the small well enough and take advantage on the other end.”
The Bulldogs (4-1) held the Pioneers to one point in the second quarter, before Providence came out of halftime picking up the pace.
“We switched to a zone to try to slow them down a little bit, and that’s what got us a lot of success,” Providence coach Andrew Bencze said. “Offensively, we were forcing a lot of shots and not playing more of a team game and moving the ball around more.”
Burbank will face the winner of Pasadena Poly and Burroughs in the tournament final at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue.
Tirityan scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Aslanyan added 14 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Burbank sophomore Jayla Flowers added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Pioneers guards Jyah Lovett and Ariel Gordillo each had 13 points, while freshman Audrey Sayoc tallied 12.
Lovett added 10 rebounds, but did not play the entire fourth quarter after going down hard on a rebound attempt. Sayoc and Gordillo also had three steals each.
The Pioneers (1-1) led the Bulldogs early in the first quarter and Lovett drained back-to-back three-pointers for a 10-6 lead midway in the frame.
Tirityan stole a pass and took it all the way to the basket to tie it at 17 with 29.6 seconds left before the Bulldogs took a two-point lead to end the first quarter.
Tirityan and Lovett both scored 13 points in the opening quarter, before the Pioneers lost their scoring groove.
“We just kept going inside and we had more bigs than they did,” Tirityan said. “So it was effective in the first quarter, but then they made their adjustments, so we were trying to [counter] that.”
Sayoc’s free throw early in the second quarter was the only Providence point in the frame, as the Pioneers missed 11 shots, while the Bulldogs scored 12 points to end the half with a 31-18 lead.
“We were having trouble staying in front of them,” Bencze said. “Osanna, we know, is a big, physical kid and we just had a lot of trouble dealing with some of their physicality down low, particularly the offensive boards.”
The Pioneers picked up the defense in the third quarter with half-court presses, but the Bulldogs were still able to out-rebound them, 10-6, and outscore the hosts, 15-11.
Tirityan hit a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to give Burbank a 46-29 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We’ve had the tendency to come out in the third quarter a little bit flat, especially when we have the lead,” Breeden said. “We’re young, we’re inexperienced, so it’s just something we have to learn. We just kind of let it ride and we came out OK.”
Sayoc started the final quarter with a three-pointer and the Pioneers defense continued to work its as the Bulldogs struggled to make shots.