BURROUGHS HIGH — The pressure of its march toward the program’s first league championship in 32 years might have adversely affected the Burroughs High girls’ basketball team in the early going against Glendale on Friday.
The league-leading Indians came out sluggish in the first quarter, and the Nitros actually held a lead mid-way through the second quarter.
But a blitz to end the first half helped snap Burroughs out of its funk, as the Indians righted the ship and earned a 47-39 victory against visiting Glendale.
The win allows the Indians (21-4, 11-1 in league) to clinch at least a share of the league title. The last time Burroughs won a championship was in 1978, as a member of the Foothill League. The crown came under Coach Jerry Libman.
Burroughs — which has a two-game lead over Muir with two games remaining in the regular season — can win the title outright Tuesday in a home game against Hoover.
Following the win Friday, the Indians players weren’t overtly joyful about earning at least a tie for the league crown.
“These girls are really focused on winning the championship and having it to themselves,” said Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan, whose team is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division II-AA. “They don’t want to share the title.”
The Indians received another steady performance from senior Lisha Elsenbach. The league’s leading scorer poured in 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Teammate Aysia Shellmire added 11 points and three blocks and Chelsea Rhamdeow had 10 points.
It wasn’t an easy win for Burroughs, which seemed to come out flat against the Nitros (12-12, 4-8).
“I told the girls that Glendale was fighting for a playoff spot and they were going to fight for the win,” Oganyan said. “They really had nothing to lose.”
Both teams didn’t shoot well in the opening quarter, as the score was knotted at 8 after one.
The Indians took a brief lead early in the second quarter, only to have Glendale fight back to take a 15-11 advantage with less than four minutes to play in the first half.
Burroughs didn’t wilt after falling behind. Instead, the hosts embarked on a 10-0 run at the end of the quarter, and enjoyed a 21-15 lead at the half.
“I think the way we came out has a lot to do with the stress and pressure of just being in the race for the league championship,” Oganyan said. “It’s a lot of pressure on them because they want to win it so badly.”
The Indians maintained their control of the game in the third quarter. When Shellmire made good on a three-point play with 3:35 remaining in the third, Burroughs was up, 31-21.
Burroughs opened up its biggest lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and was ahead by 15 points, 41-26.