BURBANK — Trailing by 12 points with just an eight-minute fourth quarter to try and salvage its season, the Burroughs High girls’ basketball team was running out of time.
Poor shooting over the course of the first three quarters had put the Indians in a hole Saturday night in a CIF Southern Section Division I-A first-round contest against Fountain Valley. Faced with the mortality of their season, the Indians chose to fight.
Burroughs was able to battle back from a 15-point deficit in the second half to tie the score in the fourth. However, sharing the lead would be as close as the Indians would come, as the Barons hit two clutch three-pointers down the stretch to hand Burroughs a 61-57 loss in front of its home crowd.
The loss ends a season that saw the Indians (23-5) earn a share of the Pacific League championship.
“The loss doesn’t take away from what they were able to accomplish this season,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. “We were pretty inconsistent throughout the season and to win a league title is a great accomplishment.”
That inconsistency was evident in the first half of the game for the eighth-seeded Indians against Fountain Valley (12-15), which advanced to the postseason as an at-large team out of the Sunset League. Burroughs struggled from the floor over the course of the first two quarters, as the team struggled to stay in the game.
Burroughs converted just five of 35 shots from the field in the first half and was 20 of 70 in the game.
“I don’t know if it’s because we’re young that we had so much trouble with our shooting,” Oganyan said. “We obviously didn’t make the plays that we should have. Sometimes I just don’t know what it is with this team.
“But this team has never quit, no matter what. And they didn’t quit tonight.”
The Indians did receive a solid effort from senior Aysia Shellmire, who had 24 points — 21 in the second half — to go along with eight rebounds. Teammate Sidney Ortega added 14 points, Jakarra Waddell had 10 rebounds and Davina Del Castillo contributed 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Things got off to a good start for Burroughs, as it began the game on a 5-0 run following a three-point play by Ortega and another bucket by the junior at the 6:23 mark. But following that rally run, the Indians’ offense went sour.
“After we went ahead 5-0, we were just missing layups left and right,” Oganyan said.
As Burroughs struggled, Fountain Valley took advantage, as the Barons came on in the first quarter to end the stanza with a 15-11 lead.
The Indians’ woes didn’t dissipate in the second quarter, as they missed their first six shots from the field. Burroughs also committed nine turnovers in the second. That helped the Barons go into halftime with a 35-20 advantage.
Burroughs got to within 11 of the lead in the third quarter, but went into the final frame trailing by 12, 48-36.
However, led by Shellmire, the Indians started the fourth in dominating fashion, scoring the first seven points. Burroughs continued to peck away at the lead, and when Shellmire converted a layup on an assist by Waddell with 3:09 left, the Indians had knotted things at 50.
“I thought Aysia played well in the second half,” Oganyan said. “And we have had our share of comebacks, so I knew we were capable of that.”
But after the Indians tied the score, Fountain Valley’s Jasmine Mater came downcourt and drained a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Following a Shellmire layup that pulled the Indians to within one, 53-52, Mater came through again with another three-ball from almost the same spot.
Shellmire then stepped up again for the Indians, hitting two free throws with 31.7 seconds left to make it a one-point game, 56-55. But Burroughs was forced to foul in the final seconds, and the Barons converted.
Burroughs had two three-point attempts in the final seconds, but couldn’t convert either.