By Michael Dumansky
With the game coming down to the wire in overtime down three,
Bulldogs Head Coach Sid Cooke was confident his team would find an answer late with
10.2 seconds left. As the ball was inbounded, senior guard Vartan Avetisyan raced up
the court and found teammate Elmer Reyes who hit the game-tying fade away jumper to
force a second overtime. That gave Burbank the confidence it needed to outlast top-seeded Foothill of Santa Ana 79-73 in double overtime to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals.
Burbank will hit the road to face Martin Luther King Jr High of Riverside on Friday.
It is Burbank’s first trip to the CIF semifinals since 2017 when it advanced to the 3AA final.
“We had to get the ball up quickly and we have good enough shooters to make those
shots. That’s what we were trying to do in that situation. We wanted to catch the Foothill
team off guard and we did exactly just that.” Coach Sid Cooke said.
The Bulldogs (10-3), were keeping pace with Foothill’s fast-pace offense and had no trouble with Foothill’s significant height advantage. The test for each team was who’s defense would
step up. Burbank was answering that question as it went into halftime with a 32-25
Cooke’s team got complacent in the third quarter as Foothill guard Jacob Horton
kept finding openings in the lane to cut Burbank’s lead 38-30 with 4:37 left in the third
quarter. Burbank, keeping a steady lead, was never in full command as Foothill guard Austin Overn penetrated into the paint to lay it in to cut
the lead to 48-42.
“I sat my players down at the end of the third and told them that they were not running
all the way through. I wanted them to get the ball moving more and execute our plays
better. We were lacking that for a bit and it showed.” Cooke said.
The pep talk seemed to not help Burbank as the Knights cut the lead 51-50 with an
Overn three pointer. The Burbank lead would be surrendered on a Horton jumper
to make it 52-51 with 4:56 remaining. Horton pushed the lead to 56-51 on a straight
away jumper with 1:28 left to play in regulation.
Cooke and his staff did not give up as they knew that they trusted the ball in Elmer
Reyes hands, who with 5.2 seconds hit a corner three to tie the game at 61 all and
“I saw the time and I didn’t want to lose. I had to press full court with the time remaining
and I was lucky to get the steal and pick up the ball just as I was fading away.” Reyes said.
Reyes finished the night off with 16 points and 4 assists. Avetisyan added
10 points and 3 assists to cap off the night.