BURBANK — One great quarter ended up being more than enough to make up for two subpar stanzas for the Burbank High girls’ basketball team in its 59-45 win over Fountain Valley in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs Saturday night.
There seemed to be a lid on the basket for the host Bulldogs during the first half, but during the decisive third period, there was no stopping Burbank’s transition game, which led to easy buckets and a 17-point lead by quarter’s end that would never again dip below double-digits.
“Our shots started falling, everything just started going in and we were clicking more than in the first quarter and second quarter,” said Burbank’s Damarie Gonzalez, who led the Bulldogs with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. “It started picking up and then from there we just didn’t want to lose.
“This is the first win in CIF playoffs [in my] four years being here and it’s really exciting, so I can’t wait until the second round.”
Burbank (17-11), which will meet either fourth-seeded Corona Centennial or Upland in the second round on the road Wednesday, also got 10 points and five steals from Sylvia Granados and nine points from Jamie Gonzalez. Most of the Bulldogs’ offense came in the third period, where the team shot 50% from the field and outscored the Barons, 25-8.
“I really believed that we could get easier shots, which meant we needed to play a little better defensively,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “First half, I thought we played pretty good defensively, but we missed something like 15 shots inside the key. Second half, we started converting, boarded a little bit better and then our outside shots started falling.”
The game was tied at 24 at halftime, but Burbank took the lead early in the third and never lost it again. Granados made a steal and dished to Jamie Gonzalez on the fast break with 6:10 left in the third to begin a 15-2 run that lasted until the 1:30 mark of the quarter.
The knockout flurry came during a quick stretch later in the third when Jamie Gonzalez hit a corner three-pointer at the 3:35 mark followed by a baseline jumper from Courtney Seidler and a layup finish for Jamie Gonzalez off another assist from Granados.
“Transition was awesome,” Breeden said. “We played that way all summer, we’ve been off and on all season, but when we can play good enough defense and run, it’s kind of fun to watch.”
Granados stole an inbound pass and scored on a quick layup with 11 seconds left in the third quarter for a 49-32 advantage.
Thirteenth-seeded Burbank, which finished second in the Pacific League, ended the first half shooting just 20% in the second quarter (four for 20), which began with a streak of 11 missed Bulldogs shots in a row.
It was a particularly brutal quarter for Damarie Gonzalez, who went 0 for seven from the field. But the senior captain did make four free throws to keep Burbank afloat early in the period before Granados broke the drought with a putback to give the Bulldogs a 17-16 lead with 4:30 left.
“None of my shots were falling, so I was like, ‘OK, I have to make my free throws,” said Damarie Gonzalez, who was nine for 10 from the line in the game.
Chelsey Linder buried a three-pointer for Burbank and Irene Pashapour scored a layup on a pass from Lysette Perez on a three-on-one break to put the Bulldogs on top, 24-21, late in the second quarter.
It was an underwhelming shooting performance overall for Burbank in the first half, as the Bulldogs went seven for 34 from the field and missed several shots right around the basket in failing to really capitalize on 14 Barons turnovers. But the third-quarter resurgence was more than enough to speed past Fountain Valley, a Sunset League at-large entrant.