NORTHWEST GLENDALE — With the Hoover High and Burroughs' boys' basketball teams locked in a close game entering the fourth quarter of their Pacific League opener Tuesday night, Kyle Bernardo sought separation.
Bernardo went to work and, in the process, helped the Tornadoes start league on the right note.
Bernardo finished with a team-high 22 points, including nine in the final quarter, to propel host Hoover to a 51-41 win against Burroughs.
Hoover (7-7) held a 33-29 lead through three quarters before Bernardo made several big shots early in the fourth quarter to help the Tornadoes turn back the Indians (7-7) and end a three-game losing streak.
"We toughened it up on defense and were able to take care of the ball," Bernardo said. "We knew that we had to take it possession by possession.
"Our defense led to my offense. I made some shots and I got more confidence."
On Hoover's first fourth-quarter possession, Bernardo made a layup to give the Tornadoes a 35-29 advantage. He then made a three-pointer to extend Hoover's lead to 38-29 with 6:25 left.
Burroughs had no response in stopping Bernardo.
"He's a good player and he made some shots," said Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg, a former assistant with the Glendale Community College men's team. "We wore down late after playing well defensively in the first half."
The Indians received a team-best 22 points from senior guard Zeke Zuniga, who made his season debut after missing the first 13 contests because of a foot injury. Burroughs also competed without starters Lawrence White, Ty Bennett and Jorge Flores-Pere. Hochberg said Bennett was ill and Flores-Pere and Lawrence are recovering from hamstring and calf injuries, respectively. Burroughs received 12 points from Alex Duran.
The Tornadoes got seven points from Ryan Barsegian and six points apiece from Adeh Navasartian and Francis Roncal. Navasartian contributed nine rebounds for the Tornadoes, who made only one of 12 shots in the first quarter before finishing 18 of 37 for the game.
"We were able to hit some shots to start the fourth quarter and we hadn't shot that well the previous three games," said Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten, whose team was deadlocked at 20 at halftime. "We didn't turn the ball over [Tuesday] and we managed the clock well.
"Kyle hit those big shots and we were able to plug along. We are a pretty versatile team."
Hoover had five first-quarter turnovers, but five the remainder of the game.
Hochberg said the Indians will look to regroup.
"We are not deep with the guys we are missing," Hochberg said. "League will not be easy.
"We want to get things turned around by the second round of league."