By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor
As we approach Christmas and the holiday season, the Burbank and Burroughs boys basketball teams have been delivering fine performances worthy of a Santa Claus slam dunk.
Here is a review of the teams’ first two tournaments thus far prior to playing in tournaments beginning the day after Christmas.
The Bulldogs hosted their annual Burbank Tournament to tip-off the season. With a nucleus of young players, Burbank showed a lot of heart and hustle as they went 2-2 in its games.
Burbank defeated Hollywood (55-35) and Chatsworth (55-46) and lost to Agoura (57-43) and Los Angeles Roosevelt (70-50).
The tournament expanded to 13 teams almost doubling the teams from a year ago and there was a lot of parity throughout the week-long tourney.
“The tournament went very well, games were competitive and we had good competition,” Burbank coach Jerry DeLaurie said. “There were several teams with identical records and we had to go to tie breakers to determine the ties to advance to the final day playoffs.”
Village Christian won the tournament beating Agoura in the final, 62-47.
“I thought our team learned a lot about ourselves and had the experience about playing their first varsity game and tournament,” said DeLaurie. “We had some success and growing pains throughout the tournament, but this is a learning experience and we will learn from our mistakes and continue to improve each game and get ready for league. I am very excited for the future.”
Ben Chavez averaged 12 points per game. He took four charges and is only a sophomore. Another sophomore, Michael Woods, had 19 points in the win against Chatsworth and also had 10 rebounds and five steals.
The learning experience proved to be a positive as Burbank won the consolation championship of the Pioneer Tournament last week. After losing to Los Altos, 65-57, in the opening round, the Bulldogs defeated Monrovia (56-51), Salesian (65-51) and Marquez (64-46) to improve to 5-3 on the young season.
Ellie Hanno scored 18 points against Monrovia and Salesian to propel the Bulldogs to a successful tournament showing.
Burbank will participate in the Katella Tournament from December 26 – 30. The Bulldogs will play Servite in the first round.
The Indians are having a solid season thus far starting 5-3 in its first two tournaments. Burroughs went 3-1 at the San Dimas Tournament taking second place and 2-2 at the Beverly Hills Tournament.
“We are a team that thrives when it buys into our identity as a group that ‘doesn’t pass the eye test’ but will out work and out execute other teams,” Burroughs coach Adam Hochberg said. “We have struggled when we lose that identity and don’t lock-in at all times. We simply aren’t good enough or do not make enough shots to get us through mental lapses in games.”
The Indians won three straight games at the San Dimas Tournament to begin the season with victories against Barstow (77-48), Corona Roosevelt (72-70) and Alta Loma (54-47). In the championship game, Burroughs fell short in a 78-73 loss to Ayala.
David Schwer scored 31 points vs. Ayala to cap off an impressive four games to earn All-Tournament honors. He averaged 22 points per game in the tourney. Chris Hovasapian had 19 in the effort and was also named All-Tournament.
“David Schwer and Angelo Solis have been the most consistent performers. Schwer has carried us offensively in most games and has been scoring in multiple ways,” Hochberg said. “He has been sick though for over a week and may not play in next tournament. Solis needs to continue to stay on the floor and not get in foul trouble early. When he’s out there he is the difference maker.”
Burroughs participated in the 74th annual Beverly Hills Tournament opening up against perennial power Loyola. The Indians played well early on trailing 42-40 in the third quarter before the Cubs imposed their will in the fourth to win going away, 79-54.
The Indians proceeded to lose to East Bakersfield (57-47) and defeat Hamilton (51-47) and Birmingham (41-32). Junior Steven Hubbell scored 22 points against Hamilton and finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists vs. Birmingham.
“Steven Hubbell and Chris Hovasapian have had some nice games as well,” said Hochberg. “Hovasapian is battling through a nagging back injury and Hubbell has had some turnover issues but is taking on his role better in the last two games as primary ball handler and guy who can get other guys involved. His shooting has struggled a bit but he will pick it up.”
Next up for Burroughs is a trip to Orange County for the Tustin Tournament on Dec. 26. The Indians open up with Huntington Beach.
“These guys want to get better and are the most fun group to coach that I have had,” said Hochberg.