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Elsenbach’s dedication pays off

Burroughs High’s Lisha Elsenbach put up impressive numbers during her junior girls’ basketball season in 2010.

Along with earning first-team All-Pacific League and All-Area honors, Elsenbach emerged as the Indians’ best scorer, averaging 15.7 points a game to go along with, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals.

But as a team, Burroughs fell short of its goal of winning a league championship. In fact, the Indians finished third.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of stats that I have, if the team doesn’t win they don’t really matter,” Elsenbach said.

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During her senior season, Elsenbach vowed to do all she could to help the Indians win a league crown.

Elsenbach did just that this past season, as she was the driving force behind a team effort that resulted in Burroughs capturing its first league title in 33 years. The senior ended up being the leading scorer in the league, and emerged as a quiet, but instrumental leader for the Indians.

Elsenbach’s contributions earned her the Pacific League Player of the Year honor.

“Last year, I saw who won the MVP of the league and I was like, ‘I would like to win that,’” she said. “That was something I definitely wanted to do.

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“But I was more worried about winning league. That was pretty much where all my focus was. And it was great that we were able to win it.”

She averaged 16.9 points on the season and 23 in league. During league play she scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games. In addition, Elsenbach averaged 8.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals a game. She also set a school record for free throws made in a season with 166.

Under Elsenbach’s leadership, Burroughs (25-5) set a school record for wins in a season. The Indians also had a fine run in the CIF Southern Section II-AA playoffs, winning two games. The team fell to Inglewood in the quarterfinals, 74-65.

“What has impressed me the most about Lisha is she continued to work hard in the program over the years,” said Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan, a Glendale High graduate who was voted the league’s coach of the year. “I think the biggest thing for her is her attitude and her mental approach of getting better, and she never stopped trying to be a better player. I think that’s what separates her from a lot of the other players.”

Burroughs teammates joining Elsenbach on the all-league list were center Aysia Shellmire, who made the first team, senior guard Chelsea Rhamdeow, who made the second team, and senior guard Shannon Kermah, who was an honorable-mention pick.

Burbank had a first-team honoree in junior forward Damarie Gonzalez, who led the team by averaging 9.5 points a game. Teammate Evelyn Abrami, a senior guard, was an honorable mention selection.

Crescenta Valley had one player make the first team in freshman forward Ella Stepanian. Stepanian averaged 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

“Offensively, she has great skills,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said. " She can shoot threes, dribble well up court and play with her back to the basket.

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“With her rebounding, it’s a testament toward her athleticism and desire. She’s extremely well-rounded and she was by far our best defensive player.”

Glendale senior guard Stella Ghazarian was named to the second team.

Those receiving honorable mention included senior guard Sarah Yoon of Crescenta Valley, Glendale senior guard Serah Mirzaeian and senior guard Amatia Golbodaghi of Hoover.

Yoon averaged 11 points, 2.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. Golbodaghi averaged seven points per game.


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