PASADENA — Coming of a second straight season of not qualifying for the CIF Southern Section playoffs out of the Pacific League, the Burroughs High boys’ basketball team is hoping to use summer to build chemistry, put players in the right spots and work out some kinks.
However, at the moment, the Indians are more concerned with just getting healthy.
Burroughs was missing three key starters to injuries Thursday when it took on Northridge Academy in a Maranatha Summer League game. After not being able to distance themselves from the Pumas throughout much of the first three quarters, the Indians stepped up their game in the fourth quarter to earn a 51-37 victory.
Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg, whose team finished 11-12 last season and tied for sixth in league with a 4-10 showing, said he has been working his players hard during the summer. The Indians are fresh off of playing five games in a tournament last weekend at USC. In addition, the team has daily morning workouts during the week along with taking part in games in the afternoon and evenings.
“The guys have been working hard,” Hochberg said. “With all that we’ve been doing, it’s like they have hit a physical wall lately. But they have to be able to overcome that mentally. They know it’s going to take a lot of hard work to be successful. They just have to challenge themselves to get better.”
Of the three injured players for Burroughs, one will be in his fourth year with the team in the winter and another will be competing in his third season.
With the missing experience, senior-to-be Hanoak Amanios stepped up against Northridge Academy. Amanios tallied 11 of his 15 points in the first half, which kept the Indians in the game.
Amanios said he didn’t feel any personal pressure to perform with key teammates sidelined.
“I really just try to pump us up as a team, and to do what I can as a team,” he said. “The three guys who were hurt today are important players for us, and I just wanted to do what I could to help the team. We are trying to work on our chemistry right now and it’s hard with those guys out.”
The Indians also received a boost in the fourth quarter from Chris Hovasapian, who hit two three-pointers and tallied eight points in the final stanza. He finished with 10 points.
After enjoying a seven-point advantage after three quarters, Burroughs opened the fourth with six straight points. When Andrew Williams converted a layup to complete the run, the Indians had increased their lead to 13, 39-26.
However, the Pumas came roaring back. They hit three straight three-pointers to make it a four-point game, 39-35, with just under four minutes remaining.
“We need to learn why things like letting them have that run in the fourth happen,” Hochberg said. “We just have a lot of guys who are inexperienced. We treat every possession, in every game that we play in summer, as a practice rep for us.”
After being pushed down the stretch, Burroughs did respond. After the lead was whittled down to four, the Indians outscored the Pumas, 12-2, to close out the game.
Yousef Martinez added seven points, Justin Mitchell added six points and seven rebounds and Williams had six points, six rebounds and three steals.