Burbank Boys Hoops Lose Heartbreaker, 61-58

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


A solid first quarter disappeared over the next two periods and doomed the host Burbank High boys’ basketball team on Friday night against Crescenta Valley.

Even with a fourth quarter rally, the Bulldogs were still knocked off by the Falcons, 61-58, in a Pacific League game.

A steal by junior guard Koko Kechichan with 20 seconds left helped preserve the victory.

A pair of free throws by junior point guard Journey Shank (six points) and 33.6 seconds left gave the Falcons a 58-55 lead.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Senior point guard Cole Barton scored four points and gave his best defensive effort. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs (15-8 and 5-4 in league) entered the fourth quarter trailing 48-41 and made it close as Burbank made eight of 15 shots from the field.

Junior forward Thomas Clark scored all seven points in the quarter and junior point guard Cameron Sweeten (10 rebounds) tallied four of his six points.

Senior point guard Cole Barton (four points) added a hoop with 2:51 left that trimmed Crescenta Valley’s lead to 54-51 and forced a time out.

“I liked our fight and heart but we had 10 turnovers in the opening half,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said. “We need to be more poised in a situation like that [late turnover], but it’s a great learning experience.”

Junior small forward Faraz Khandaker scored 16 points for the Bulldogs, while junior swingman Michael Woods added 11 points with six steals.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Michael Woods poured in 11 points, nine in the second half. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We made our run and they made their run,” said Khandaker, who pulled down 10 rebounds. “I like these kinds of games that are physical and tough. Our team always makes the effort.”

Khandaker didn’t score in the final quarter, but carried the load in the opening half when he accounted for 12 points.

Meanwhile the Falcons, who drilled 20 of 49 from the field for 40.8 percent, had three players score in double figures with senior guard Arin Ovanessian dropping in a game-best 18 points.

Senior guard Gabriel Ajemian added 15 points and junior guard Trey Ballard chimed in with eight points for the Falcons.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Faraz Khandaker (#15) scored a team-best 16 points with 10 rebounds in a three-point loss to the Falcons. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Down 32-25 at the intermission, the Bulldogs (43.8 percent on 25 of 57) played even with the Falcons (16-6 and 6-3 in league) in the third quarter as each scored 16 points.

But Ovanessian’s 13 points in the quarter stirred the crowd as he drained three from three-point range and added a pair of baskets.

“I was like one for four in the first half, but after I made the first shot in the third quarter, I was told to keeping shooting,” Ovanessian said. Actually Ovanessian made two shots in the opening half including a trey.

Ovanessian’s three with 6:25 made it 41-25, and his hoop with 4:25 showing gave the Falcons a 46-29 lead and forced a Burbank time out.

Offsetting that incredible output was Woods tallying seven points, Khandaker adding four points, senior small forward Levon Galstyan (five points) tossing in a trey and Sweeten adding a bucket.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Senior shooting guard Ellie Hanno, who scored six points, looks to pass the ball. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank made seven of 17 in the initial stanza and led 15-14 with Khandaker scoring six points.

The Falcons made four of 15 from the floor in the quarter as six players scored including Kechichian (11 points) pouring in four points.

Crescenta Valley drilled seven of 15 from the field in the second quarter with Ajemian throwing in six points.

“I think our league is like that,” Crescenta Valley coach Shawn Zargarian said. “You have to give your team credit for the win, but we made it close. We’ve been like this all year.”

Khandaker tallied a three-pointer, a hoop and a free throw in the second quarter while senior shooting guard Ellie Hanno (six points) scored a bucket as did Galstyan.

Burbank junior power forward Ben Chavez nailed a three-pointer in the opening quarter for his only points.

Burbank will visit Hoover on Monday in a league game and a 5 p.m. tipoff.