Burbank Boys Lose To Muir, 58-53, In Pacific League Opener

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


An 11-point first-quarter lead by the Burbank High boys’ basketball team over Muir evaporated by the intermission.

The Mustangs used a 24-10 second quarter and 18 Burbank turnovers into a 58-53 win in the Pacific League opener on Tuesday night.

Beside the miscues, the host Bulldogs, after hitting six of 11 shots from the field in the first quarter, finished the game making 17 of 55  for 30.9 percent. Burbank was slightly better at the free-throw line converting nine of 26 for 34.6 percent.

After hitting one of 14 attempts in the initial quarter, the Mustangs made 37 percent (20 of 54).

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Junior shooting guard Michael Woods scores two of his 12 points in a 58-53 loss to Muir. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“It’s been a problem,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said referring to the Bulldogs’ poor shooting from the free-throw line. “We work on it at practice, but it’s all mental.”

Potts expected Muir to play at a fast pace, but said it should not have bothered his team.

“We’re very comfortable playing those teams,” he said. “We don’t feel like that should be a problem.”

Neither squad was effective shooting the ball from the floor or the free-throw line.

Muir (6-7 and 1-0 in league) hit 14 of 27 (51.8 percent) from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Bulldogs 40-38.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Junior forward Thomas Clark paced the Bulldogs with 13 points. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Junior forward Thomas Clark tossed in a team-best 13 points for the Bulldogs (10-5 and 0-1 in league) with nine coming in the second half, while junior guard/forward Ben Chavez chipped in with 11 points.

“We started fast but we got rattled in the second quarter,” said junior shooting guard Michael Woods, who had 12 points. “It was the turnovers and the empty possessions that bothered me.”

Woods added: “I think that we were too confident after we took the lead in the first quarter. We needed to stay hungry and stay aggressive.”

The Mustangs were paced by sophomore shooting guard Hunter Woods, who tallied a game-best 23 points.

Sophomore point guard Tiyan Martin and sophomore center Darius Henderson each added 11 points for the Mustangs.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Senior shooting guard Ellie Hanno dribbles past a Muir defender. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s 18-7 lead after the first quarter was short-lived as the Bulldogs made only three of 16 shots in the second quarter.

The Mustangs converted 10 of 17 from the floor and forged a 31-28 advantage at the intermission.

Part of Muir’s strategy was to press and trap in the backcourt which caused Burbank problems all evening and led to turnovers.

“We usually start slow,” Muir coach Simaine Stewart said. “Those first quarters are character builders. But we’re a defensive team. For us, that’s our identity. This is the first league game. By the time it’s over we’re going to get better.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Junior small forward Faraz Khandaker, who scored six points, tries to get something going. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The previous high in turnovers by Burbank was 12, but Muir’s athleticism really turned up the heat.

Coming out of the break, the Bulldogs made four of 16 attempts from the floor and two of seven from the free-throw line.

Burbank’s shooting woes continued in the fourth quarter as it converted four of 12 from the field and five of 15 from the charity line.

Burbank travels to Crescenta Valley on Friday at 7 p.m. for a league game.