Burroughs & Burbank Girls Basketball Preview

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Burroughs and Burbank will battle it out for a possible league championship (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Burroughs and Burbank will battle it out for a possible league championship (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Burroughs and Burbank will battle it out for a possible league championship (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Jim Riggio
Special to MyBurbank

With the success the Burbank and Burroughs High girls’ basketball teams have enjoyed the past few seasons, enthusiasm and expectations have grown for both programs.

Supporters of the two schools can expect to see lots of talent and a great crosstown rivalry this season when the two teams hit the floor. Both teams will compete at the Burroughs Magnolia Park Optimist Tourney next week from Dec. 9 – 14.

The rivalry is as strong as ever as both teams are very competitive.

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Just two years ago the Bulldogs were in the CIF Southern Section Division I-A semifinals.

Burbank coach Bruce Breeden
Burbank coach Bruce Breeden

Last season they made it to the second round of the playoffs, going 16-13 and upsetting the Indians in the season finale between the two teams.

Burbank has received a big boost by the addition of two key players.

The Bulldogs have a top point guard in junior Yazzy Sadullah Jr. Sadullah is at her third high school, having played her freshman year at Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, the same school that produced former UCLA and current NBA player Shabazz Muhammad.  Sadullah played at Quest Prep in Las Vegas last year.

Sadullah will have a player to get the ball to inside in 6-foot-5 junior center Anastasia Tsybaeva. Tsybaeva played at BHS as a freshman and last season went to Bellarmine-Jefferson High.

Ashley Linda is the top returner to the team as she was a second-team all-league selection a year ago. Sharis Ghazeri is also back and was an honorable mention all-league selection last year.

Burbank has a solid supporting cast with players who have been promoted through the program.

Seniors Samantha Ainian, Ratiana Karapet and Fatima Cisneros figure to play key roles for the Bulldogs.

Juniors Abby Troy and Ani Temurian also are expected to be in the mix for playing time.

“Our team likes to get up and down the floor in transition,” Burbank coach Bruce Breeden said.  “We look forward to a very successful and competitive season.”

Breeden said he figures the race to the Pacific League title will once again be difficult.

“(The) teams to beat this year (are) Burroughs, Crescenta Valley and Arcadia,” Breeden said. “We should be in the mix for a playoff spot.”

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Burroughs went 23-5 and earned a share of the Pacific League title a year ago. Four starters return from that team.

Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan
Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan

The Indians have tough shoes to fill as 6-1 center Aysia Shellmire, who was the co-player of the year in the Pacific League, has graduated.

But with a strong supporting cast, JBHS should be strong.

Junior guard Davina Del Castillo (5-10), a first-team all-league pick last season is back. She averaged 5.6 points and 10.3 rebounds a game last season.

Senior Sidney Ortega (5-5), a second-team all-league pick last season also returns.  She averaged 12.9 points per game.

Junior Delaney Nicol (5-3) is a true point guard who figures to improve on her 5.6 points and 2.9 assists per game average last season.

Senior Jakarra Waddell (5-10) earned honorable mention all-league honors last season. She figures to be the Indians’ top inside presence. Junior center Sienna Brown (5-10) will be the other top player in the key. At 5-10 Waddell, Brown and Del Castillo are the tallest players on the team that will rely heavily on the play of its guards.

“We are a fast tempo team, aggressive, quick, (and) energetic,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “Any one player can lead the team in scoring on a given day. “

The Indians are also looking to the future as the team has just four seniors, but will have five freshmen.

Forward Jocelyn Rieken (5-8) and guards Haley Wilson (5-6),  Justine Barraza (5-3), Teani White (5-3) and Kamryn Cardenaz (5-7) make up the group of players who have an opportunity to be four-year varsity players.

“Our goal is to out-tough our competition every time we step on the floor,” Oganyan said.

Oganyan said she expects the Pacific League to once again be challenging.

“(The) league looks pretty strong. Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Burbank, (and) Burroughs should all be close hard-fought games,” Oganyan added.

Burbank and Burroughs will meet in league competition for the first time Jan. 24 at Burbank with the tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

They will meet once again in the regular season finale Feb. 13 at Burroughs.