Dogs slip to fourth place

BURBANK — The Burbank High boys' basketball team had an opportunity to claim third place in it's host tournament on Saturday.

Instead of seizing it, though, the Bulldogs came out sluggish against Simi Valley Royal.

Despite a 30-point effort from Andre Spight, Burbank fell to the Highlanders, 68-61.

"We came out and didn't stick to our game plan from the get-go," Burbank Coach Jose Hernandez said. "It's a work in progress, and until we decide to follow what we're suppose to do, we're going to struggle."

Down, 55-41, midway through the fourth period, Burbank (2-2) rallied to pull within 63-61, mostly on the shoulders of Spight, who had 14 points in two-and-a-half-minute span.

"I just feel like I'm one of the leaders on this team," Spight said. "If things aren't going well, I need to step up.

"Everyone was just clicking [during the rally]. Everything was going well. Seems like we ran out of gas."

That would be as close as the Bulldogs would get, as Royal (3-1) pulled away down the stretch.

The Bulldogs ran into trouble early in the game when Royal went on a 10-0 run for an 18-8 lead at the end of the first period.

"We came out slow," Spight said. "We've got to get it together. We have an inexperienced team right now."

But then things started to change for Burbank, as the team's second-unit defense stepped up big. During a stretch that lasted more than six minutes, the Highlanders managed only two points, as Burbank closed to within 28-23 at halftime.

"It's just a matter of putting effort and pride into playing defense," Hernandez said. "Some of those guys off the bench put a little more pride into getting it done."

Burbank stuck around until late in the third period before Royal made a run to extend its lead to 55-41.

"We just make mistakes and we don't listen to direction," Hernandez said. "Until we do, then we're going to struggle."

Austin Pope had 10 points and 14 rebounds and teammate Victor Turner added 10 points for Burbank.

Max McCoy tallied 19 points for Royal.

Hernandez didn't lay blame on the fact that Burbank played its fourth game in five days as a reason the team came out slow.

"I don't think so," Hernandez said. "We're a well-conditioned team. I don't think fatigue was a part of it. Just our stubbornness and our lack of focus was the primary reason."

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