BURBANK HIGH — Burroughs High was fighting to break a record.
Burbank was fighting for its playoff life.
When the teams met Thursday in the Pacific League finale, the Bulldogs’ postseason aspirations were hanging by a thread. They needed a win to hopefully secure fourth place in league, which would give them the final playoff spot.
But the Indians — who had already clinched their first league championship in 33 years — were attempting to set a new program record for wins in a season, and they weren’t about to be denied.
Using a suffocating defense, Burroughs took advantage of a wealth of Bulldogs turnovers to earn a 44-24 victory at Burbank.
With the loss, Burbank (13-13, 6-8 in league) finished in a four-way tie for fourth place with Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Arcadia. Coach Bruce Breeden and his team would have to wait until Friday for all the school’s athletic directors to figure a way to break the tie.
That tie was broken by taking in to consideration how the four teams fared against one another during league play. With the records calculated, the Bulldogs had the best record, 4-2, against their opponents, punching their card to the playoffs.
“It’s nice that we’ll be going to the playoffs.” Breeden said. “But we’re pretty banged up.”
The playoffs begin next week.
Burbank had to take on Burroughs without two of its top players, Evelyn Abrami and Irene Pashapour, who suffered serious injuries.
The Indians took full advantage, rolling to its 23rd win of the year against five losses. The win total breaks the record for victories in a season.
Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said breaking the record, along with beating their cross-town rival, was enough motivation for her Indians (13-1 in league).
“Getting that win record was very important,” said Oganyan, who guided the team to its first league title since 1978. “We also wanted to get the momentum going into playoffs, so hopefully we can win a few games in the playoffs.”
In seven years with the Burroughs program, Oganyan’s teams have never gotten out of the first round of the CIF Southern Section Playoffs. The Indians are tied for fourth this week in the Division II-AA poll.
It was the Indians defense that gave the Bulldogs fits. Leading the way were Lisha Elsenbach, who had nine steals, and Shannon Kermah, who had eight.
That tight defense helped Burroughs jump to an 11-1 first-quarter lead. Burbank committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter alone, and nine in the second quarter.
Burbank didn’t convert a basket in seven attempts in the first quarter.
The Indians received balanced scoring, with Chelsea Rhamdeow leading the way with 11 points to go along with seven rebounds. Elsenbach (seven rebounds) and Shank added nine points each.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, got just 10 points — eight coming from free throws — from their starting five.
Damarie Gonzalez paced the team with seven points.
Burroughs sustained the pressure in the second quarter, as the team went into the half with a 23-10 advantage.
“We were able to take advantage of some of their mistakes, and that helped us,” Oganyan said.