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SPORTS SHORTS: Girls Basketball – All Good Things Must End

All Good Things Must End

The fairytale season that the Burbank High girls’ basketball team enjoyed came to an end on Tuesday at the hands of Summit High.

The CIF Southern Section’s Division IA top seed, Summit, advanced by way of their 72-49 win over the Bulldogs — who were the 13th seed in the Division and the only non top seed to reach the final four.

The Skyhawks — six time Sunset League champions — improved to 26-3, Burbank ends its season an impressive 19-12. The Bulldogs finished second in the Pacific League this season, won a record 19 games and advanced to the semifinals for the first time ever.

Summit features three players 6-feet or taller dominated Burbank down low. The Bulldogs tallest player is listed at 5-foot-10. Summit had scored as many as 88 points on the season and had held opponents to as few as eight, so the Bulldogs made a respectable showing, especially in spurts of the second and third quarters.

Senior Damarie Gonzalez, playing in her final game, scored 16 points to lead Burbank. Jamie Gonzalez and Aja Locke each had eight points.


Burbank High baseball committed eight errors in a 9-3 loss at Rio Mesa on Tuesday, February 28 — including four from shortstop Dylan Mersola and two from catcher Paul Frias who are the Bulldogs top two players.

The Bulldogs now have 14 errors in three games on the season, a large reason while they are 0-3.

Rio Mesa had nine hits, all singles, and four players with two hits apiece. It led 2-0 after the opening inning of play, however the score remained unchanged until the fifth when it broke open a close game with a four-run inning.

Burbank had just three hits, one from Frias, Mersola and pitcher Angel Villagran.

Burroughs Falls Flat

The Indians’ baseball team hasn’t found it any easier thus far this season. Burroughs lost at home to Lancaster, Tuesday, 5-1 and is 0-3 with highly-regarded Crespi looming in the fourth game of the Easton Southern California Showdown on Thursday.

Dillon Disiere threw two scoreless innings of relief and Chris Davies has a single, a walk and a stolen base and was one of the few mentionable offensive sparks for the Indians.

“Just an inexcusable loss for us, a really frustrating one,” Coach Kiel Holmes said. “Our effort has gone backwards since the opener and that is not acceptable. We clearly have a long way to go before we are ready for league play we’re just going to have to get back to work and figure it out.”

Dog Days of Winter Here?

Burbank High girls’ basketball coach Bruce Breeden might soon pull out the DVD “Hoosiers” from its place on the shelf to review what it was Gene Hackman said to his team as they defied all odds in the sports-drama classic.

In what is perhaps the best display of tournament Cinderella stories since Hackman led the Hickory Hoosiers to a state title in the film based on the true story of the 1952 Indiana high school basketball state champions, Breeden’s Bulldogs just keep on rolling in the CIF Southern Section’s Division IA playoffs.

The Bulldogs rallied to a 58-48 home win over visiting Temecula Valley Saturday night — overcoming a disastrous third quarter in which they were outscored by nine points, 16-7.

“We’ll be the underdogs the rest of the way, so we really have nothing to lose,” Breeden said. “I am just so proud of the team for the way they have come together.”

Breeden has spoken often of the coach’s clich√©, how the playoffs are the start of a whole new season. His Bulldogs have taken it to heart, winning three straight en route to their first appearance in the semifinals in the program’s history.

The Bulldogs had never previously made it past the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Now, however, they will play at Summit High against the No. 1 seeded Skyhawks on Tuesday evening in the semifinals.

The Skyhawks have scored as many as 88 points in games this season and have beaten opponents by as many as 62 points.

Burbank (19-11) drew a favorably match-up in the quarterfinals against Temecula Valley — 14-16 on the season. Burbank dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Golden Bears 29-13.

Damarie Gonzalez scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Burbank. Sister Jamie Gonzalez scored 12 points and teammate Aja Locke added 10 points. Temecula Valley got a huge effort from Iman Lathan who scored 28 points.

Summit beat Downey on Saturday, February 25 by a score of 62-54.

Bulldogs Continue Their March in Basketball

Burbank High girls’ basketball is proving that its strong showing in the regular season was no fluke.

The Bulldogs steamrolled host Upland, 62-40, on February 22 to set the stage for a CIF Southern Section Division IA quarterfinal game against Temecula Valley on Saturday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Temecula Valley (14-15 overall) upset No. 5 Diamond Bar, 57-33, creating a match-up few would have predicted when the postseason began. The Bulldogs, unofficially, will make their first quarterfinals appearance in program history Athletic Director Fred Cook calculated. Their coach, Bruce Breeden, will make his first appearance since 2001 when he coached at Crescenta Valley.

Let the dreams of an appearance in the semifinals begin after Burbank came-up with arguably its best all-around effort of the season against Upland with a large cast of players leading the way.

Aja Locke scored 15 points and hauled-in five rebounds, Damarie Gonzalez scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Courtney Seidler added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Sylvia Granados also has a solid all-around game with eight points, seven assists and four steals.

Upland countered with a game-high 21 points from Ashley Carson, but it wasn’t nearly enough to counter the team-attack of the Bulldogs, who improved to 18-11 on the season and who have now won five of their last six games.

Bulldog Girls Not Fit to be Tied

The Bulldogs’ girls’ basketball team was probably fortunate to be tied going into the half of its CIF Southern Section Division IA opener at Burbank High against Fountain Valley after a seven-of-34 shooting performance over the first two quarters.

After regrouping, they eventually went on a 25-8 run over the third quarter to take control en route to a 59-45 win. Burbank will play Upland who defeated Centennial 67-64 on Saturday. The Highlanders are 13-8 on the season.

Burbank was led Saturday by Damarie Gonzalez who scored 17 points and hauled-in seven rebounds. Sister Jamie Gonzalez had nine points and teammate Sylvia Granados had 10 points and five steals.

Burbank is 17-11 on the season and was victories in a playoff game for only the second time in the last ten seasons. Winning in the playoffs was one of Coach Bruce Breeden’s preseason goals.

“You talk about a lot of things, aim big and try to miss small,” he said. “Once you get to the playoffs anything can happen.”

Burroughs’ Girls Go Down to Defeat at Paloma Valley

For a young team, the ramped-up atmosphere of the CIF Southern Section playoffs can be overwhelming. The inexperience and youth of the Burroughs Indians’ girls’ basketball team, a No. 4 seed from the Pacific League, showed-up early Saturday night against Paloma Valley as they fell 70-51 to the No. 2 from the Sunbelt League.

“We looked a little scared, really didn’t play well until the final quarter,” head coach Vicky Oganyan said.

Paloma Valley used a 17-8 opening quarter to take control, then after the Indians closed the gap slightly, Paloma Valley closed the first half with a 13-0 scoring run to lead 35-19 at the half. A 23-point effort in the final quarter made the score look closer than it was.

But for the defending Pacific League champions who graduated most of its key pieces last year, simply making the playoffs this season was a success. Burroughs started two freshmen in Sidney Ortega and Delaney Nicol and its top scorer Aysia Shellmire was a junior. Their taste of the playoffs should play dividends in the years ahead.

Nicol and Shellmire led the Indians with 14 points apiece. Gabby Pineiro, a senior playing in her final game scored 11 points and Davina Del Castillo had a game-high 13 rebounds.

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Bulldog Girls Prepared to Start A New

Sylvia Granados of Burbank High makes a move during a resent game against Burroughs High Girls. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Head Coach Bruce Breeden has sounded like a coach use to this kind of season, even if his team’s place near the top of the Pacific League standings is somewhat unusual.

“We made it a goal to win a tournament and we finished as high as third, we made it a goal to win league and we finished second, and we will look to put together a winning streak in the playoffs and see what happens,” he said. “The point is you have to have big goals and miss by a little rather than settle.”

Burbank is coming off a remarkable season in which it broke new ground. The Bulldogs won 16 games, its best showing in Breeden’s seven seasons and finished second in the Pacific League with a mark of 10-4. Muir won the league with a 14-0 season.

Now the Bulldogs will host Fountain Valley for the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Division IA playoffs.  One has to like their chances with Fountain Valley just 13-12 on the season and 4-7 in the Sunset League. It was just one of two fourth place teams from six team leagues selected for the postseason bracket.

Still, the Barons come from a tough league that features Hunnington Beach, Edison and Los Alamitos so nothing is a given. The Barons snapped a four-game losing streak by routing Newport Harbor on February 9, 56-28.

A Bulldogs’ win would most likely give them the daunting task of playing Centennial Corona in the next round, who plays at-large entry Upland on February 17. Centennial Corona is 21-6 overall and ranked as the No. 4 overall seed in the 32-team Division IA bracket.

Burbank is led by sisters Damarie Gonzalez (11.7 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 3 assists) and Jamie Gonzalez (9.6 points per game). Aja Locke (6.6 points per game) and Courtney Seidler (6.3 points-per-game) are also part of a balanced Bulldog’s attack.

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Burroughs’ Girls Has Long Road to Travel

John Burroughs High Girls will have to play solid defense as they did here against Burbank to come out with a victory Saturday . (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Just in case the Burroughs girls’ basketball team had forgotten what it is like to be a fourth place team in the Pacific League come playoff time after being the No. 1 seed last season, the CIF Southern Section gave it a brutal reminder Sunday in the form of a lengthy road trip.

A 93-mile road trip to Paloma Valley to be exact. Burroughs will travel to play the Wildcats on February 18 to play the No. 2 team out of the Sunbelt League in a Division I-A opener. The Wildcats were 17-9 overall and 8-2 in their league this past season. The Sunbelt League features Perris, Temescal Canyon, Lake Elsinore and Lakeside as well.

The long commute isn’t the only thing the Indians must contend with. The Wildcats have won four of their last five and feature a 6-foot center in Breana Turner who averages 14.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game.

The other piece of their thunder-and-lightning attack is guard Brandy Howard who averages 15 points and four steals per game.

Burroughs did catch a break in the sense that it will be playing a No. 2 seed as opposed to a No. 1, largely because it is a fourth place team out of an 8-team league and the Sunbelt League is a six-team league. The fact that the Indians are just one year removed from a 25-5 record setting season didn’t hurt wither.

This past season, a Burroughs team that was injected with youth after the graduation of so many seniors, went 12-15 overall and 7-7 in league. The Indians had to win its final two games in the regular season and had to survive a scary rumor last week to even qualify for the playoffs.

“We were hearing that Pasadena was going to have to forfeit a win against Crescenta Valley which would have knocked us to fifth,” Burroughs head coach Vicky Oganyan said. “It was just a rumor the player in question had gone injured not ineligible.”

For a young team who had made it a goal to be in the playoffs this season, the greatest challenge may be mental. The Indians will have to resist the urge to lose focus after meeting its primary preseason goal and having a two-hour commute for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off Friday.

We will talk about a whole new season,” Oganyan had said last week. “Hopefully the team will respond.

Offensively Burroughs is led by Aysia Shellmire who averages 15.4 points per game and 9.6 rebounds. Seniors Gabby Pineiro (5.3 ppg, 5.0 rebounds) and April Harris (5.6 ppg, 3.8 rebounds) and freshmen Sidney Ortega ( 5.3 ppg) and Delaney Nicol (4.2 ppg) will also have to play big for Burroughs.

Burroughs Girls Basketball Team Gets the Job Done

Burbank High's attempts to move the ball against Bailee Trota of Burroughs Thursday night (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The CIF Southern Section will release brackets for the postseason sometime Sunday in what is the local high school version of “Selection Sunday,” however the playoffs unofficially began for the Burroughs girls’ basketball team this week facing a pair of must win games.

After three consecutive losses put the defending Pacific League champions on the verge of missing the postseason entirely the young Indians responded as champions should and put together a pair of huge wins February 7 and February 9 to extend their season at least another game.

Last night, Burroughs topped their crosstown rivals, the Burbank Bulldogs, 47-43, to claim the fourth and final playoff spot out of the Pacific League. Although the Indians finished in a tie with the Crescenta Valley Falcons, Burroughs will take the fourth spot by way of its season sweep against CV. A loss this week would have forced the Indians to petition for an at-large berth which was far from certain with an overall record of just 12-15.

Burroughs is 7-7 in league.

The Indians outscored the Bulldogs 12-4 in the opening quarter, which proved to be the difference on February 9. The two battled the final three quarters with Burbank winning each quarter by none by more than a single possession and with Burroughs never surrendering the lead.

In what was one of the best moments of the season for the Indians, senior Gabby Pineiro led all scorers with 14 points. Pineiro is one of the lone seniors and lone key pieces from last season’s Burroughs team that went 25-5 and won its first league championship in more than a quarter of a century.

April Harris of Burroughs brings the ball up the court during the Indians 47-43 win over Burbank (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The 14 points keyed the fast start for the Tribe and was a season high for Pineiro who has averaged five points and five rebounds per game on the season despite the ankle sprain that originated in early in league against Pasadena and was re-injured in the rematch with Pasadena on January 27.

“Not having Gabby 100% hurt us this year, no question, she is our leader and the example for our young team,” head coach Vicky Oganyan said before Thursday’s game. “I hope she can finish the season strong because than we will.”

Teammate Aysia Shellmire, the statistical leader on the season, added 13 points and 11 rebounds against a Burbank zone that had really given her fits the first time the two teams met on January 20. IN the first contest, a Burbank victory, Shellmire shot only 2-of-8 from the floor. She made 4-of-5 shots from the floor on Thursday and 5-of-7 from the free throw line.

“They made more free throws than we did, simple as that,” Burbank coach Bruce Breeden said after the game.

It was a physical contest from the start with a combined 61 fouls for both teams. Burroughs made 14-of -31 free throw chances.

Demarie Gonzalez led all scorers with 18 points, teammate and sister Jamie Gonzalez added nine points for Burbank who still clinched second place in the Pacific League this week with a 16-11 overall record and a 10-4 league mark.

It’s Just A Family Business for Burbank Hoops Duo

Burbank High Girls Basketball Demarie Gonzalez. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The sibling story is one that is almost too easy to write. The older sister is a senior finishing-up a solid career this week, the other is a junior not worried about what will happen next, and they are both key pieces to the Burbank High girls’ basketball team’s success this season.

Add for good measure the duo’s older sister, Lissette, who roams the gym as a volunteer coach for the Bulldogs. She is a 2007 BHS graduate, obviously proud of what her younger sisters have accomplished this season.

There is something more to the story, however, that the “Gonzalez Girls” want hoop fans to know;

“We’re a family,” Damarie, the senior says pointing to a group of teammates who are huddled in the corner of the gym after practice Monday. “All of us.”

The best teams indeed find a bond and a respect for one another that teams with more talent who struggle never even seek. That appears to be what has happened with the Bulldogs this season who are 15-10 overall and 9-3 in the Pacific League (second place) heading into the season’s final week.

Burbank High Girls Basketball Jamie Gonzalez. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“It is just a real close group and it shows on the court,” head coach Bruce Breeden says. “This season has been a lot of fun so far and we are just trying to take it all in.”

Damarie Gonzalez is the lone Bulldog who averages double-digit points per game on the season at 11.7 points per game thanks largely to a 28-point effort against San Marino just after Thanksgiving and a 23 point effort against Van Nuys the day after Christmas.

In league, Damarie has taken more than 10 shot attempts in a contest just once, when she took 15 shots in a one-point win against Crescenta Valley last month. It is perhaps the most telling example of how well Burbank has functioned as a team this season.

“You look at our stat lines and nobody averages double-digits (in league), but the numbers are pretty even across the board” Breeden says, “We have a few right there and a lot of players who are very consistent with their effort, their play and how they feel about one another.”

Jamie Gonzalez is averaging 9.7 points per game and acknowledges that she has learned a lot from her sister, despite the fact that they play different positions.

“She’s a center and I am a guard, but she has taught me to look for my shot, to have confidence in my shot,” Jamie says when asked point blank what she has learned from her older sibling.

“To play hard,” Damarie adds.

Junior Aja Locke is the third piece to the team’s success averaging seven points and seven rebounds on the season.

The team has been steady and consistent this season, despite having only five seniors on a roster of 14. With the exception of six losses in an eight game stretch during a holiday tournament the team has been focused and prepared from one game to the next. It has dropped two straight in league just once, when it lost to Muir and Pasadena January 23 and 25. The Bulldogs responded with three straight road wins over Crescenta Valley, Hoover and Glendale highs.

Burbank’s girls basketball program is still getting use to this sort of success.

I was talking to our AD (Fred Cook) last week and he and I were trying to remember the last time the program finished in second place and we couldn’t” Breeden confesses. “We were in first for 24 hours after the first round of league (before a Pasadena win at Muir was forfeited for the use of an ineligible player) but second place wouldn’t be a bad place to finish-up if we can get two more Ws this week.”

Breeden recalled only one other time his team has been this high-up in the standings — his first season three games into the Foothill League schedule. “We had beaten Canyon and Burroughs had upset Hart and there were a lot of teams 2-1,” he said. “Of course, we missed the playoffs that season.”

The Dogs are in the CIF Southern Section’s “big dance,” but who they will be dancing with will be determined on Selection Sunday on February 12. This week’s games against Arcadia and Burroughs are crucial.

Burbank High Girls Basketball Sisiters Jamie #22 and Demarie #34 Gonzalez. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We will just hopefully keep doing what we’ve been doing all year; stay focused, play hard and give ourselves a chance to win,” Breeden says.

Breeden’s approach seems to be one his players have bought into as well.

“He’s loud, you have to,” jokes Damarie. “He makes it fun though too,” Jamie adds.

With success comes the slightest hint of a swagger. The Gonzalez Girls confess to teasing the boys team a little about their season.

“We point to the records a little and play that they shouldn’t get all the attention, but I think they know we are messing around,” the sisters agree.

They will also use the boys’ program as motivation. Just two seasons ago the Bulldogs boys’ team rode a hot streak to the CIF title game before losing to Compton.

“The goals are always simple at the start of the year,” Breeden says. “Win a tourney and we managed to place third, win league and we’ve got a shot at second and make the playoffs and see what happens… I like how we are playing right now and we will talk about staying hot in the postseason after we’ve done what we need to do this week.”

Girls Basketball Race in Pacific League is the One to Watch

It’s no longer a “man’s world,” at least not on the hard court this winter. With Burroughs High boys’ basketball going through another long stretch in the Pacific League (1-10 overall and three consecutive 20-point plus defeats) and with Burbank boys’ basketball also struggling (3-8 in league and two games back in the playoff picture with three to play) hoop fans in the city of Burbank should turn their attention to the girls’ basketball Pacific League race the rest of the way.

Burbank is enjoying a stellar season, 14-10 overall and 8-3 in Pacific League play. Although they cannot catch undefeated Muir, the Bulldogs have a one-game lead over Arcadia for the second slot in the eight-team league. The two teams play on Tuesday, February 7 and the Bulldogs most be focused and not overlook the Apaches with crosstown rival Burroughs High on the schedule two days later.

Burroughs is just 5-6 in Pacific League play but that is still good enough for a three-way tie with Crescenta Valley and Pasadena for the fourth and final playoff spot with just three games remaining. Adding to the drama is that Pasadena had to forfeit a win over undefeated Muir for the use of an ineligible player creating the long jam in the middle of the pack.

Pasadena and Muir will rematch on the season’s final day with the Mustangs looking to secure an undefeated season. That is good news for the Indians and the Falcons who stand to benefit. However, neither team has it easy on the season’s final day with CV playing its rival, Arcadia, who is still very much alive for second place, and the Indians having to play Burbank.

Burroughs could be playing for the right to go to the post season after a 25-5 Pacific League championship season last year, while Burbank could be looking to lockdown the much coveted No. 2 slot and to sweep its rival for the first time in two decades when they clash on February 9.

Aysia Shellmire leads the Indians with a 15.6 points-per game average and a 9.6 rebounds-per game. By comparison, no one else on the squad averages even six points per game. The Gonzalez duo lead the Bulldogs with Damarie Gonzalez averaging just a tick under 12 points per game and Jamie Gonzalez averaging 10 points per game for Burbank. Checkback for feature stories on all three players next week.