Burbank Girls Hoopsters Power Past Visiting Muir

Behind a spectacular outing by Karen Casillas, who scored 24 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and handed out six assists, the Bulldogs trump the Mustangs 48-36 in a Pacific League match.

Burbank's Karen Casillas (No. 25), pictured in an earlier match, scored a game-best 24 points in a 48-36 win over Muir. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Rick Assad

Four nights after losing to city rival by 19 points, the Burbank High girls’ basketball team powered past visiting Muir behind a 15-point second quarter and a 20-point third frame as they rolled to a 48-36 triumph in a Pacific League match on Tuesday night.

Senior power forward Karen Casillas poured in a game best 24 points with 16 rebounds and six assists versus the Mustangs (14-8 and 3-6 in league) after being held to four points by the Bears in a 60-41 setback.

“Tonight we needed to get better defensively,” Burbank coach Kris Jabourian said. “We need to show that we can run sets properly, which we did. Karen stepped up and played her best game of the year.” 

Neither team shot well on Tuesday as Burbank was successful on 17 of 63 shots from the field for 26.9 percent and Muir made 30.4 percent of its attempts on 14 of 46.

“When we focus on how we play basketball, we look great,” Jabourian said. “Last night was a slow start, but we ended up getting the result we wanted.”

Casillas tallied just one free throw in the first period as the Bulldogs (12-10 and 6-3 in league) led 6-2 heading to the second quarter.

Burbank jumped ahead 5-2 with 4:03 left in the initial period on a three-pointer from junior shooting Nikaela Damasen, who finished with 10 points as the Mustangs requested time out.

Shelby Cribbs, shown in a previous game, came off the bench for the Bulldogs and added defensive punch in a victory over the Mustangs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Casillas then added seven points in the second period that included the first of her two three-pointers as the Bulldogs marched in front 21-15.

When Casillas popped in a three-pointer with 5:34 left on the clock in the second quarter, the Bulldogs took control 14-6 as Muir asked for a stoppage in play.

With 3:32 remaining before halftime, a three-pointer from senior shooting guard Rheanna Ocampo (six points) pushed Burbank’s advantage to 17-11 as the Mustangs needed another time out.

Four Burbank players scored in the third period as Burbank took command 41-26 as Casillas accounted for nine points.

A three-pointer from Damasen made it 32-20 with 4:49 left on the ticker as the Mustangs requested yet another time out.

With 1:01 left and a hoop from Casillas, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 41-26 as Muir needed a stoppage in time.

Freshman point guard Sahara Jackson (six points) scored four points in the third frame for Burbank.

Casillas scored all seven points for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter and also nailed her second three-pointer.

Sophomore power forward Lauren Navarro added two points from the free-throw line in the third period for the Bulldogs, who hit eight of 11 from the charity stripe for 72.7 percent while the Mustangs drilled six of 17 for 35.2 percent.

Senior guard/forward Shelby Cribbs didn’t score but contributed on the defensive side.

“I noticed we had benefitted a lot from communication, on the court and off,” she said. “I will say that was a defensive win due to our offense not going the way we planned. But offense wins games, defense wins championships, so there’s no complaining.”

Cribbs explained what the defense was trying to do against the Mustangs.

“We ran for defense man and a box and one which we have been doing the past few games and personally I believe that is our strongest defense we have been doing so far,” she said.

Cribbs then spoke about the game.

“The game itself was off to a slow start from which I believe was because of low energy and not playing at our full potential,” she noted. “As we started to score more and run plays correctly, we saw a change in our game. Our team is progressing so much it will be amazing to see how we do this year.”

Muir was led by senior forward Naj Harding’s 11 points with seven tallied in the second half and sophomore guard Amari Wilson tacked on 10 points that included a pair of three-pointers.

Burbank drilled six three-pointers and Muir connected on just two from long distance.