BURROUGHS HIGH — The Burroughs High girls’ basketball team knew what to expect from Muir when the teams met Wednesday in a Pacific League game.
The host Indians braced themselves for an opponent that played lockdown defense, had its share of solid scores and could put up points in bunches, as evidenced by the 100 the Mustangs dropped against Hoover last week.
Despite the advanced knowledge, Burroughs had no answer for its challenger, as the Mustangs frustrated the Indians with their defense, limited their opponent’s shot attempts and even threw in some long-range offerings. The end result was a 45-33 Muir victory that kept it undefeated in league play.
“They were able to hit some threes, and that’s something that we didn’t see in their game [Monday] against Burbank,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said of the Mustangs’ five three-pointers. “We knew that they were going to play tough defense and we knew they had some players who could score.”
It was a dominating first half that helped carry Muir (15-3, 4-0 in league), which is ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division IVAA. The Mustangs limited the Indians to just 12 shots from the floor in the first half, while helping cause 17 turnovers.
That defense enabled the Mustangs to take a 35-14 lead at halftime.
“Our defense and our press are our staples,” said Muir Coach Gary Johnson, whose team enjoyed a 19-10 lead after one quarter. “In that first half, I thought we played much better and it was our defense that was able to come through for us. I was happy that we were able to limit them to 14 in the first half.”
In the first half, the constant Muir defensive pressure seemed to rattle the defending Pacific League champions, as the Indians (7-10, 2-2) had trouble even inbounding the ball and moving it past midcourt.
The Mustangs also did their job on offense, led by sophomore Emioni Jackson and seniors Jerrica Daniels and Shaela Flynn. Jackson led the charge, scoring 16 points to go along with 18 rebounds and three steals. Flynn chipped in 13 points and connected on two three-pointers in the first quarter and Daniels had nine points — all on three-pointers — and six steals.
“We know we have to play good defense,” Jackson said. “We work hard on it in practice and we always go hard on defense. Defense wins games.”
The loss overshadowed a fine effort from Burroughs’ Aysia Shellmire. The junior had 15 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks and almost single-handedly kept the Indians in the game during long stretches.
“I have to say that this is the best game I’ve seen Aysia play in her three years in the program,” Oganyan said.
After taking a 24-point lead early in the third quarter, Muir started to let up. The Indians outscored the Mustangs, 8-4, in the third to go down, 39-22, heading into the fourth.
In the final quarter, Muir missed its first eight field goals and was outscored, 11-6. However, the Mustangs’ lead proved too great for Burroughs to overcome.
“You have to give [Burroughs] credit; they played a lot better in the second half,” Johnson said.
Beside Shellmire, Burroughs’ next-highest scorer was April Harris with six points.