BURBANK HIGH — With 4:48 remaining in the first period and his team losing, 10-6, Burbank High boys’ basketball coach Jose Hernandez called a time out. He was not pleased with the Bulldogs’ play against rival Burroughs at home on Friday.
“These games are really emotional,” Hernandez said of the rivalry, adding that he instructed his team to settle down and keep its composure. “We just have to make sure to take our time and play like we know how to play.”
Whatever Hernandez said worked. Burbank went on a 23-7 run to take a lead it would never relinquish, beating the Indians 70-59, to earn a Pacific League win.
It was the third-straight victory for the Bulldogs, who improve to 11-9 overall, 3-4 in Pacific League play. Burroughs drops to 7-13, 0-7.
“We picked up the intensity,” said Burbank guard Remy Youssefi, who scored 20 points. “We started [each game of] our three-game win-streak strong.”
Beating their rivals was an added incentive.
“It’s always big,” Youssefi said. “You always want to beat the cross-town rivals. You want to be the school of the city. You want to be No. 1.”
The contest was not without drama. After finding themselves down by 12 points, the Indians clawed their way back into the game, and Burbank led, 40-36, at half-time. Burroughs got to within 49-47 to open the third period, but could not retake the lead.
Hernandez attributes much of the team’s success to a solid second-half defensive effort. After allowing 36 points in the first half, the Bulldogs held Burroughs to 23 in the second.
“That was the whole talk at half-time,” Hernandez said. “Our whole talk was defense. Making sure that we make the adjustments defensively. You allow 36 points in the first half, that’s just too many. We talked about what was hurting us, made some adjustments and the guys did a good job.”
The Indians were poised to take the lead early in the fourth quarter but the team went without a field goal for more than four minutes, scoring only two points off a pair of foul shots during the first half of the final period.
“Too many turnovers, too many missed opportunities,” Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg. “We got stops, we didn’t get scores. They made plays in the fourth quarter and we didn’t.”
The Indians have lost 10 straight.
“This year is different than what we thought it was going to be,” Hochberg said, citing injuries, “We’re shooting 32% in league, and you’re not going to win too many games. You just got to keep playing hard because it’s not going to be easy any night.
Burbank was without leading scorer Andre Spright for much of the contest, as he left with an injury early in the game. Caine Brown Kennedy scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Austyn Thompson led Burroughs with 17 points and teammate Ezekiel Zuniga added 14.