BURROUGHS HIGH — Going into Thursday night’s season finale, both of the Burbank High and Burroughs boys’ basketball squads had their own respective motivating factors.
In front of a ruckus capacity crowd — equal on both sides — the Bulldogs, led by Andre Spight, needed a win to hopefully keep their playoff hopes alive. Burbank got the cross-town rivalry win, 60-49, and now has to see if it will continue its season.
“There was too much energy before the game, and the kids were hyped up,” said Bulldogs Coach Jose Hernandez, who found out after the game that Glendale had defeated Hoover Thursday to clinch the fourth and final automatic playoff spot from the Pacific League. “We came out really flat and it wasn’t until we settled down that we got going.”
The adrenaline was indeed a factor early, as both teams struggled from the field in the opening minutes, making four field goals in a first quarter that saw five lead changes.
Spight, who had missed his first five field-goal attempts, got going in the second quarter, along with the rest of the Bulldogs. Spight scored 10 points in the frame as the team made nine of 10 field-goal attempts.
“I usually come out shooting like that and usually they fall,” said Spight on his early cold-shooting. “My coaches and teammates told me to keep shooting, and I started getting to the basket and letting the game come to me.”
“It was a matter of time before he got going,” Hernandez added.
The Indians (9-18, 2-12 in league) — who finish last in league for the second consecutive season— continued to struggle from the field in the second quarter, making four of 11 attempts but kept the Bulldogs within striking distance, trailing, 27-22, going into halftime.
“We had a game plan with what we wanted to do,” Indians’ Coach Adam Hochberg said. “We started off with a zone, and they hurt us so we went to a man defense. Spight made some plays, and hit some big shots.”
Burbank (14-13, 6-8) missed just three field goals in the second and third quarters. Eventually the Indians couldn’t keep up with the solid shooting as they would see their deficit increase to nine after the third quarter despite their most efficient offensive output of any quarter in the game.
Spight followed up a 10-point second quarter with 11 points in the third, including two deep three-pointers that kept the Indians at bay.
The junior guard finished with a game-high 27 points.
Burroughs trailed by as little as five points in the fourth quarter, but turnovers ultimately kept it from coming all the way back. The Indians didn’t hold a lead after taking a 9-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
“It came down to us running out of gas, committing too many turnovers and we had some terrible stretches,” said Hochberg, whose squad lost five of the last six games. “They made plays, and we didn’t.”
Ezekiel Zuniga led the Indians with 12 points.
Remy Youssefi finished with 11 for a Burbank squad that will be looking to get an at-large bid into the playoffs, similarly to last season when the team finished 7-7 in league play.
“I’m confident we’ll get in and once we do, we’ll make some noise,” Spight said. “I promise you that.”