BURROUGHS HIGH — The Burroughs High girls’ basketball team had to begin its 30th annual Burroughs Magnolia Park Optimist Tournament on Thursday with three key players injured.
The most prominent player on the bench was 6-foot-1 center Aysia Shellmire The junior first-team all-league athlete, who is suffering from a back injury, averaged 9.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season and is the Indians’ biggest presence in the middle.
Despite missing the players, Burroughs was able to coast to an easy 63-20 victory against Sun Valley Poly.
Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said even with Shellmire sidelined, she hasn’t changed much in terms of her team’s game plan.
“Whatever we’re doing right now is kind of geared with her being in there,” said Oganyan, whose team is 2-3. “So, we are doing it anyway without her, so when she gets back we don’t have to change anything back. We are hoping to get her back by Dec. 26.
“One of the positives of not having the players in there is that the other girls have the opportunity to get some experience.”
Seniors April Harris (ankle sprain) and Nicole Williams (broken foot) are also injured.
The Indians — who started two freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and one senior Thursday — had a number of players who stepped up to fill the void against the Parrots (2-7).
The Burroughs defense also make life difficult for the Poly ballhandlers throughout the game, as the hosts helped force 34 turnovers.
“We stress playing tough defense in every one of our practices,” Oganyan said. “That is probably 75% of our practice. We want to play tough defense.”
Burroughs received a boost from two players coming off the bench. Sophomore Jessica Adams scored a team-high 12 points, including two three-pointers, and Jakarra Waddell added 10 points.
Adams said he gets a unique perspective coming off the bench, and she looks to contribute whatever she can.
“I just want to come in and help the people who are tired,” Adams said. “When you’re on the bench you can notice some things that maybe you don’t see when you’re on the court.”
Bailee Trotta also tallied 10 points for the Indians.
Freshman Davina Del Castillo scored just four points for Burroughs. However, she helped the team in other areas, nabbing 15 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
“She is very active and she rebounds well,” Oganyan said of Del Castillo. “And for a freshman, she has no fear.”
Burroughs jumped out to a 23-6 lead after the first quarter, as Poly committed 13 turnovers. The Indians increased the advantage to 42-12 at the half.
The Parrots then fell behind, 55-16, after three quarters, as a running clock was instituted in the fourth.
Burroughs will take on the winner of the Sierra Canyon-Calabasas game in the second round at 2 p.m. Saturday.