By Rick Assad
Shalhevet School scored from three-point range, mid-range, the free-throw line and through the back door, something made famous by Pete Carril’s Princeton teams.
The Firehawks shot 65.8 percent from the field (27 of 41) and 80 percent at the charity line (four of five), and after building a huge lead over host Burbank High on Thursday afternoon, eventually beat the Bulldogs 69-43 in a nonleague boys’ basketball game.
Front and center was senior forward Nathan Sellam, who accounted for a game-best 27 points for Shalhevet, including 19 points at the half when the Firehawks led 36-16.
Pacing the Bulldogs was sophomore guard Kevin Debashian with 16 points, with 10 points being scored in the second half.
“The beauty of this whole situation is that there is always tomorrow,” Burbank coach Sid Cooke said. “I think yesterday was a very good lesson for our kids. The player at the scorer’s table, [senior small forward Nathan Figueroa] was also starting until he got very sick so I believe adversity is the best way to teach our kids to work their way back up and remember these losses.”
The Firehawks were efficient and effective from the initial tip, and came out gunning, hitting 11 of 12 shots from the field for 91.6 percent and building a 25-5 advantage with Sellam tossing in 13 of his 15 points at this point.
In the first quarter, the Firehawks converted 12 of 15 from the floor for 80 percent.
On the other side, the Bulldogs, who made 15 of 43 for 34.8 percent and six of 10 from the free-throw line for 60 percent, nailed two of 11 field goals (18.1 percent) and fell behind 27-5 after the first quarter.
The only bucket by senior forward Oz Shalom made it 17-3 with 4:10 left in the initial frame.
It became 21-3 after a hoop from senior shooting guard Avi Halpert (12 points) with 3:10 on the clock.
A hoop from Sellam increased Shalevet’s advantage to 25-5 with 1:56 left.
Despite making just three of seven shots in the second quarter, the Firehawks still led 36-16 heading to the intermission as Sellam added four points.
Burbank (2-5) outscored Shalhevet 11-9 in the second frame as Debashian tallied two three-pointers and senior point guard Ashot Danielian (eight points) added a trey and a hoop.
Just like the first quarter, the Firehawks were red hot to begin the third quarter as they converted eight of their first nine shots for 88.8 percent and went eight of 11 in the frame (72.7 percent).
Sellam dropped eight points with a pair of three-pointers and a hoop while Halpert accounted for five points that included a trey as the Firehawks dashed ahead 57-31 after three periods.
In the same period, Debashian scored eight points with two coming via three-pointers and senior shooting guard/small forward Sattwik Banerjee, who was dealing with knee problems, added four of his nine points.
Banerjee has a slight case of tendonitis in his knee and a couple of weeks ago, hyperextended the same knee and wore a brace versus the Firehawks, which limited his mobility.
“My knee was holding up pretty well, thanks to the brace but I couldn’t go 100 percent,” he said. “I was out of rhythm having sat out a couple of days, so I started to miss shots and wasn’t able to play how I usually do.”
Banerjee, a captain, spoke about the squad.
“As a team we didn’t get back on defense and we weren’t communicating which was our biggest issue of the night,” he said. “I think we played better in the second half because the group in the game ran back and was looking for each other rather than looking to score.”
Shalhevet (6-2) scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as the bench scored 10 points with junior guard Adam Westerman scoring all of his six points on three-pointers.
Freshman guard Evan Baker delivered all of his seven points in the fourth period for the Bulldogs while Danielian added three points.
Junior shooting guard Omar Payind converted a three-pointer in the third period for all of his points.
The Bulldogs will turn the season around with hard work and extra practice time in the gym, and though it won’t be easy, there is more than enough talent on this squad to get the job done.
Cooke said the team has been missing many players and once they return the team will be a force.