By Rick Assad
In a wild and wooly Pacific League boys’ basketball game between host Burbank High and Burroughs, 170 combined points were scored and one player finished with 41.
When the dust cleared on Thursday evening, the Bulldogs had a little extra in the tank and slipped past the Bears 90-80.
Blake Ballard’s game-best 41 points were eye-popping and allowed the Bears to get within six points as 54 seconds remained in the match.
Five players reached double figures for the Bulldogs (7-3 overall and 5-2 in league) as senior point guard Vartan Avetisyan and junior point guard Phoenix Mosley each contributed 24 points.
Senior point guard Elmer Reyes chipped in with 17 points and senior power forward Armen Nazaryan and sophomore wing Sattwik Banerjee both tallied 10 points.
“When we get other teammates open, it opens up more lanes,” said Reyes, who scored 13 in the second half. “Instead of everyone being selfish, we were selfless today. We just shoot more comfortably.”
Across the last three quarters the Bulldogs connected on 29 of 37 from the field for 78.3 percent.
Burbank drilled 37 of 54 shot attempts for 68.5 percent, while Burroughs (6-8 and 4-3 in league) canned 30 of 51 for 58.8 percent.
“With making extra passes, they’re trusting each other now, so the extra pass leads to a better shot. I thought that’s the key,” Burbank coach Sid Cooke said. “They finally started buying in. We’re playing better as a team.”
Cooke said it wasn’t a perfect game, but the team is playing the way he wants.
“We had a couple of slip-ups offensively, defensively we have work to do,” he said. “But I think we had 20 assists.”
Behind Ballard’s 12 points in the first period, the Bears led 20-17 after making eight of 13 (61.5 percent) from the field.
“The reality is, we didn’t do a good enough job defensively,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “This is the highest scoring game that we’ve had all year. We put up a lot of points. We just need to follow through on our defense and our assignments. We left guys open on our assignments.”
A 28-point second frame in which the Bulldogs made 12 of 14 (85.7 percent) from the field saw the home team take a 45-36 lead into the locker room.
After scoring two points in the initial period, Avetisyan tallied nine points in the second quarter.
Banerjee’s hoop with 5:33 left in the second quarter pushed Burbank ahead 27-24 and Mosley’s steal and bucket with 2:03 on the clock made it 40-32.
Mosley, who made three from three-point range, tacked on seven points while Reyes, Nazaryan and Banerjee all chimed in with four points in the frame.
Ballard was held to his fewest points in the second quarter, scoring four points.
Burbank wasn’t done shooting well, canning nine of 13 (69.2 percent) from the field in the third period.
Reyes dropped in seven points and Mosley added five as the Bulldogs marched ahead 65-59.
Nazaryan’s bucket with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter handed Burbank a 65-53 edge.
Ballard’s 11 points helped the Bears get within six points heading into the final period.
Another incredible shooting display followed in the fourth frame as the Bulldogs nailed eight of 10 (80 percent) from the floor.
Avestisyan accounted for nine points in the fourth quarter and his three-pointer with 3:02 left on the ticker made it 81-70.
Mosley, who scored seven points in the fourth period, had a steal and a hoop with 3:55 left as Burbank’s advantage became 75-68. Reyes tacked on six points in the last quarter.
Though Ballard, who hit three treys, dropped in 14 points in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough.
Senior guard Ruben Karakulyan contributed three points for the Bulldogs and senior small forward Kelton Shea tossed in two points.
Nick Schlander scored 16 points for the Bears, T.J. Lumpkin added 14, Jack Nitszche had four points, Dami Mokoulu added three and Elias Pavia had two.