By Rick Assad
Sattwik Banerjee did everything in his power to push the Burbank High boys’ basketball team past visiting Muir on Tuesday night.
Banerjee’s 32 points were a game-best, but the last time he had the ball in his hands it was turned over while getting ready to launch the tying hoop with just over three seconds on the clock.
Before releasing the shot, Banerjee tried to make a move, but lost his balance and went to the floor with the ball still in his hands.
The Mustangs took possession and let the clock run out and held on for a 50-48 Pacific League win.
“On the last shot we drew up a play for me to get the ball, but I saw the double team coming so I told the in bounder to pass it to my teammate because he had a better chance of getting a shot off than I would,” said the senior shooting swingman.
Banerjee, who tallied 17 points at halftime, gave credit to the Mustangs.
“The Muir team was tough, and they played hard,” he said. “They pushed the tempo and played physically. We got challenged and couldn’t reciprocate the energy until the very end.”
Banerjee had 12 points in the first quarter and then added five points in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs led 12-10 after the initial period, it was deadlocked 22-22 at the intermission and Muir forged ahead 39-36 after three quarters.
Mike Lance is the interim coach for the Bulldogs.
“It was a tough loss, but the important thing is that we were able to make some key adjustments and stay in it until the end,” he said. “Coaching transitions are tough, let alone during the season. The team is learning quickly, and we’re excited to continue developing.”
Lance saw some bright points despite the loss.
“We had a strong offensive outing from Sattwik tonight along with a series of critical plays from Ashot [Danielian] on both ends of the floor,” he said. “Evan [Baker] made some key plays in the fourth and his brother [senior guard] Liam has been a strong leader throughout this transition.”
The Bulldogs (2-7 and 0-2 in league) converted 15 of 49 from the floor for 30.6 percent and canned 15 of 21 from the free-throw line for 71.4 percent.
Senior point guard Danielian added nine points and scored two points in the second quarter and four in the third period that included a three-pointer.
Banerjee collected eight points in the third frame and tossed in seven in the fourth period while Danielian helped out with three points in the final quarter.
Freshman guard Evan Baker scored two points in the fourth period for the Bulldogs.
The other players to score for Burbank were senior small forward Nathan Figueroa who had two points in the third period and junior point guard Mike Gutierrez who nailed a three-pointer in the second quarter.
Leading the Mustangs (5-6 and 2-1 in league) was senior small forward Marquis Moore who scored 14 points that included 10 points at halftime.
Senior shooting/point guard Saadiq Moore chimed in with 12 points that included two three-pointers for Muir, which shot 37.2 percent on 16 of 43 from the field and 11 of 17 from the free-throw line for 64.7 percent.