BURROUGHS HIGH — Cross-town rivalry games don’t get much more dramatic and intense than the one played between the Burroughs High and Burbank girls’ basketball teams, especially when a playoff berth is on the line.
Burroughs, knowing a victory would put it in the running for the coveted fourth Pacific League playoff spot, got off to a fast start and held on for a for a 47-43 victory over rival Burbank on Thursday night.
With their victory, Burroughs (12-15, 7-7 in league) clinched the fourth and final playoff spot. Crescenta Valley also concluded league play at 7-7, but failed to qualify because it lost to the Indians in the teams’ two head-to-head matchups.
Burbank (16-11, 10-4) secured second place in league earlier this week. Muir will be the No. 1 seed from the league and Arcadia will be No. 3 for the playoffs.
The Indians were fighting to make the playoffs this season after winning the league championship last year.
From start to finish the game was physical and hotly contested. After the final buzzer there were a total of 61 fouls committed between the two squads. In the end, the contest came down to which team had more success at the charity stripe.
“Real simple, missed free throws,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “They made their free throws up until the very end. We’d shoot two, we’d miss one.”
Burroughs didn’t need free throws to get off to a fast start. The Indians built a 12-4 lead at the end of the first quarter behind hot shooting from senior Gabriela Pineiro.
“Gabby stepped up and hit some big shots in the first quarter,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said of Pineiro, who ended the night with a team-high 14 points. “Overall, I thought our players played a pretty good game for most of the game.”
Junior Aysia Shellmire had another solid game for the Indians. Despite being in foul trouble for most of the second half, Shellmire scored 13 points to go with 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 center also altered several shots down low.
“I thought she [Shellmire] did a good job maintaining her composure and rebounding for us,” Oganyan said. “It was hard to find her on offense with the zone they were playing, but I thought she did a great job staying composed and did all the little things for us.”
The Bulldogs’ offensive attack was led by senior captain Demarie Gonzalez, who had a game-high 18 points. Junior Jamie Gonzalez also had a solid scoring night with nine points for Burbank.
The Indians built a sizable lead well into the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs never seemed to be out of it at any point. That intensity had Breeden pleased with the direction his team is headed going into the playoffs.
“We didn’t give up,” Breeden said. “We were down by 10 with a minute to go, but we fought back and we never quit.”
Playoff pairings are to be released on Sunday.