Burroughs girls' basketball gets their share of league title

ARCADIA — With four minutes remaining in their game Tuesday afternoon, the Burroughs High and Arcadia girls' basketball teams were locked in a tie.

It would be those four minutes that would determine which squad would secure a share of the Pacific League championship.

With both the Indians and Apaches coming into the contest tied for first place in the league with just one loss each, the squads were prepared for a tough outing.

However, it was Burroughs which stepped up its game in the final minutes, withstood a final Arcadia charge and was able to walk away with a 49-45 victory on the road.

With the win, the Indians (23-3, 12-1 in league) secured a share the title and can claim the championship outright with a victory against host cross-town rival Burbank at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"The win for us today was huge because even if we don't win on Thursday we still have the league title," Burroughs senior Aysia Shellmire said. "We knew this was going to be a big game for us and we wanted to give everything that we had."

The victory also avenges a loss earlier in the season to the Apaches (21-4, 11-2), who defeated the Indians at home on Jan. 16, 52-49. The Apaches can secure second place in league with a victory Thursday against host Crescenta Valley.

Coming into Tuesday, the Apaches' lone league loss came at the hands of Glendale, 42-38, on Jan 9.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game. …Arcadia is good," Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. "I thought that we were able to stay focused and I thought that we perfected our game plan. We stayed with what we had to do, although some of the girls on their team stepped up."

Shellmire led a balanced scoring attack with 10 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Sidney Ortega added 10 points, Davina Del Castillo chipped in seven points to go along with 15 rebounds and five assists and Jakarra Waddell had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Things got tight for the teams down the stretch. And when Arcadia standout Melody Chang sank a bucket with a little more than four minutes left to account for two of her 11 fourth-quarter points, Arcadia had knotted the score at 36.

Burroughs was able to go back in front, but couldn't push the lead past four points. That was until Del Castillo scored on a driving layup and was fouled with 36.4 seconds remaining for a seven-point cushion.

However, a quick trip down the floor and a three-pointer by Chang cut the advantage to four. After the Indians missed free throws, it was again Chang that ignited the Apaches, making a pair of free throws with 20.1 seconds remaining to bring Arcadia to within two, 47-45.

"It definitely got nerve-wracking toward the end," Oganyan said. "But I thought we handled it pretty well."

When the Apaches couldn't score on their possession, Ortega was fouled with 18.6 seconds left and she converted both free-throw attempts.

Arcadia opened the game by jumping out to a 14-11 lead after the first quarter. But Burroughs outscored its host, 11-8, in the second quarter and the teams went into the half deadlocked at 22.

"I told them at halftime 'I'm not going to be calling special plays and you guys just go out there and play,'" Oganyan said. "They couldn't hear me anyway. I just wanted them to know that their best offense is just to play."

The teams ended the third quarter tied at 30.

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