Burbank girls' basketball team back at full strength

BURROUGHS HIGH — With a slew of injuries, the Burbank High girls' basketball team played its first four games of the season missing some key players.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they lost all four games.

Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden finally got a chance to see whet his squad could do when it was at full strength when the Bulldogs took on El Camino Real on Tuesday in the first round of the Burroughs Magnolia Park Optimist Club Tournament.

Despite some players who had been sidelined not being in game shape, Burbank was able to come on in the second half to roll to a 63-40 victory at Burroughs High.

"It was nice to finally get the full team together," Breeden said. "It's been a struggle for some of the players to come back. Since she is our leader out there, it's tough not having [senior] Courtney [Seidler] on the floor. She really makes a difference when she's in there."

Despite fouling out with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, Seidler — a past All-Pacific League selection — provided the Bulldogs (1-4) with a definite spark. The senior scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds.

Seidler led a charge in the second quarter that helped Burbank take control of the game.

"It felt really good to be out there," Seidler said. "I've been out two months and it was just killing me to not be able to play. But I was nervous at the start, especially when I missed my first layup. But then I felt a lot better after that."

The Bulldogs were led by a strong performance inside from senior forward Aja Locke. Locke tallied 18 points and hauled in 15 rebounds, many on second-chance shots after a rebound. Teammate Jamie Gonzalez added nine points and six rebounds.

Burbank had its problems on defense in the first quarter — namely trying to contain El Camino Real (3-4) sharpshooter Cora Chan. Chan was on fire from the field in the first half, scoring 18 points, including three three-pointers.

But Breeden tightened the screws on Chan defensively in the second quarter, limiting her to four points in the final two quarters. Chan ended the night with a game-high 20 points.

"We went to a box-and-one on defense and that helped contain her," Breeden said. "She was doing a good job at getting open in that first half and we weren't doing a good job at containing her. But I thought we did a good job on her in the second half."

In the fourth quarter, Chan did manage five shots from the field, but she converted just one.

With Chan scoring 20, the next-highest scorer for the Conquistadors had just five points.

The teams played through a tight first quarter, as Chan poured in eight points and the Bulldogs held a 15-14 advantage after one.

El Camino Real was able to take a lead, 20-19, early in the second quarter when Chan scored a basket for two of her 10 points in the stanza. However, led by a strong defensive effort — spearheaded by four steals in the quarter from Ashley Linda — the Bulldogs were able to grab back the lead and went into halftime with a 20-15 advantage.

"For the first time with us being at full strength and some of the girls not being 100%, I was very pleased with our effort," Breeden said. "I thought the way we played in that second half showed what this team can be."

Seidler stepped up in the third quarter, scoring three consecutive baskets, the final with 58 seconds left. By that time, Burbank had built up a 15-point lead heading into the fourth, 50-35.

While the Bulldogs continued to play well in the fourth quarter, the Conquistadors didn't help themselves any with poor shooting. In the quarter, El Camino Real converted just two of 15 shots from the field.

The Bulldogs will return to play in the tournament with a game at 3 p.m. Thursday. Burbank will play the winner of Wednesday's Glendale-Westview contest.

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