By Jim Riggio
Special to BurbankNBeyond
Facing crosstown rival Burroughs in the regular season finale for both teams, the Burbank High girls’ basketball team didn’t have much to play for Thursday night. Except pride and motivation.
Knowing it had secured third place in the Pacific League, the Bulldogs came out surprisingly intense and stopped Burroughs from securing the league title outright, pulling out a 54-37 upset victory.
“We had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “We watched a lot of film and made the decision not to change anything. We just went and did what we’ve been doing all year.”
Senior Aja Locke was a key presence on both ends of the court as she was one of three Bulldogs in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
“We were relaxed. We play better when we are relaxed,” Locke said. “We talked a lot better as a team and communicated. Everything was a unit. We moved and we worked really well.”
Burbank (15-12, 11-3 in league) never trailed in the game.
Burroughs (23-4, 12-2) defeated Burbank, 54-46, in the first meeting between the two teams, but now has to share the Pacific League title with Arcadia. The Indians, who are ranked No. 7 in the CIF Southern Section Division IA poll, tied things up at eight in the first quarter. But they could never match the Bulldogs again.
One of Burroughs biggest struggles was at the free-throw line, where the Indians converted just six of 22 attempts. Burbank, conversely, hit 13 of 17 free throws.
The Bulldogs led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and opened up a 29-15 lead at halftime. Jamie Gonzalez and Lysette Perez each hit a three-pointer in the second quarter to spark Burbank’s momentum.
Burroughs cut the lead into single digits late in the third quarter when Abbey Ibarra hit a three-pointer to make it 36-28. Burbank countered with a 6-0 run that included a jumper from each Ashley Linda and Sharis Ghazeri and a pair of free throws from Gonzalez.
“That was our best game all year,” Breeden said. “(This is) good timing. We just played better defense. We did what we were supposed to. Our rotations were great. We forced them into some tough shots.”
Gonzalez finished with 14 points to lead the Bulldogs. Ghazeri finished with 11 points and Linda had nine.
Burroughs was led by Aysia Shellmire and Sidney Ortega who each scored 14 points.
The CIF playoff brackets for both teams will be announced on Sunday afternoon.