Getting to the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the Burbank High boys’ basketball team had to be somewhat of a surprise considering that Bulldogs coach Ernest Baskerville only became the coach just weeks before the season started and on the heels of a few key players transferring out of the school.
Burbank wasn’t fortunate enough to find a first-round playoff opponent that faced similar circumstances, as the Bulldogs traveled to La Canada High, which is coached by Tom Hofman. Hofman recently won his 700th game in his 33rd season as La Canada’s head coach.
When it was all said and done, Hofman’s Spartans handed the Bulldogs a 57-43 defeat in a Division 2A first-round contest.
“I have so much respect for Tom. He’s a great coach. He’s been here since I was in high school,” Baskerville said. “He’s always supported the things that I do. He wrote a letter of recommendation for me to get the job at Burbank.”
La Canada (24-5) held Burbank to 14 of 57 shooting for the contest, as it took the Bulldogs a while to get into a rhythm. La Canada also didn’t make things easy on Burbank by playing solid defense.
“Ryan Graves did a really good job on (Miles D’Agostin). He’s a really good player and he made him work for everything,” Hofman said of one of his star players. “That was one of the big keys for us. Ernest does a nice job with that team. He runs good stuff and they are hard to defend. I thought they’ve been under-ranked all year.”
Burbank (17-12) scored just four points in the first quarter and trailed 10-4 going into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs trailed 20-6 midway through the second quarter when Isaac Anglade banked in a shot off the glass to get the offense moving.
D’Agostin later hit a pair of three-point shots to help Burbank completely turn things around, as the Bulldogs trailed just 28-21 going into the halftime break.
Things looked good early on in the third quarter when D’Agostin hit three consecutive free throws to cut the deficit to 30-24.
But La Canada roared right back and got a huge boost when Graves completed a three-point play with just .9 seconds left in the quarter, pushing the lead to 44-30.
A pair of free throws by Erik Harutyunyan with 3:22 left in the final quarter cut things to 49-41.
But Burbank was unable to get any closer.
D’Agostin led Burbank with 17 points. Harutyunyan finished with 10 points, and Anglade finished with eight.
Ben Burnham had four points and Jalen Clark and Guram Dumbadze each had two points.
La Canada received 18 points each from Graves and junior Kyle Brown.