Some of the most difficult and trying times in life are experienced in sports.
The Burbank High boys’ basketball team learned that the hard way Friday night in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship against Brentwood School at Azusa Pacific University.
Brentwood’s Braelee Albert hit an off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to hand the Bulldogs a 55-54 defeat.
“The game plan was to switch everything. We didn’t want to give up a three,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said of the final play of the game. “We switched it. Cameron (Sweeten) played excellent defense. The guy Braelee Albert couldn’t go anywhere, he tried behind the back he finally had to pick it up and chuck one up there and it went in.”
Potts praised his team, which trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, for fighting back to send the game into overtime.
“I’m extremely proud of my guys. Once again we were down, but not out and came back. Once again we showed a lot of heart. I’m proud of our execution,” Potts said. “ I can’t say enough about the seniors and their leadership this year. They put us in this position to have a CIF championship. We’ll bounce back and get ready for the state playoffs.”
Burbank (23-9) certainly was far from its best this season, making just 19 of 62 shots.
“I thought we had a lot of opportunities that we were missing. When we started to knock down shots, that’s when we got back into the game,” Potts said. “I thought what hurt us was offensive rebounding.”
Brentwood (23-8) led much of the way in the second half and appeared to have pulled away when it took a 43-32 lead with 4:38 to play.
But Burbank did as it has done the entire postseason by rallying. The Bulldogs started with a full-court press that made things difficult for the Eagles.
The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run and got huge three-point shots from Ben Chavez and Faraz Khandaker, as well as a three-point play from Sweeten.
Sweeten came up big with two key baskets to send the game into overtime, one with 1.2 seconds left in regulation.
In the overtime period, Khandaker completed a three-point play to make 53-52 and later added a free throw with 11 seconds left to give Burbank a two-point cushion.
Khandaker led Burbank with 18 points. Michael Woods had 10 points and Sweeten had nine. Chavez had six points, Abdullah Kobaissi had five, Thomas Clark had four and Henrik Anassian had two.
Burbank will open in the state playoffs next week, with the hope of erasing Friday’s nightmare.
“I’m already over it. I don’t dwell on things much,” Sweeten said. “He hit his shot. It’s basketball game, it’s a game of luck.”