By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
A red and white avalanche named the Burroughs High girls’ basketball team swallowed and devoured visiting Santa Fe in a CIF Southern Section Division IA first-round playoff game on Saturday before a loud and supportive crowd.
Top-seeded Burroughs spurted to a 22-point opening quarter advantage, then continued the offensive assault and posted a 57-32 shellacking of the Chiefs behind a game-high 17 points from senior center Sienna Brown, who also collected nine rebounds.
The Indians (28-2) now boast a 24-game winning streak and will meet Westminster on the road in a second-round match on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Lions are 20-7 overall and champions (9-1) of the Golden West League.
“It was good to get out and play,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “We came out and pressured them early. We had a lot of energy.”
Employing their patented full-court press which caused errant passes and numerous turnovers throughout, the Indians gathered steam from the opening tip-off and limited the Chiefs (13 of 56 from the field for 23.2 percent) to two points in the first quarter as they made one of 10 shots.
Santa Fe (14-11 overall and 5-5 in the Del Rio League) improved slightly in the second quarter making three of 15, but still trailed, 34-11, at the intermission.
Brown collected six points in the initial quarter, while senior guard Chloe Takeuchi dropped in five points.
Junior guard Jordan Meltzer (five points) began the scoring spree with a hoop, followed by Brown’s basket, and it became 6-0 when senior power forward Davina Del Castillo put in a follow-up with 6:45 left.
“We know that everybody who makes the playoffs is a good team,” said Del Castillo, who had nine rebounds with six points. “They played hard. We didn’t lower our game. We thought it was going to be a battle, but it didn’t turn out that way. Our second-round game should be more competitive.”
Brown then scored back-to-back hoops as the Indians’ lead swelled to 10-0 with 5:50 remaining, and it became 14-2 on a basket from sophomore guard Kamryn Cardenaz (six points, seven rebounds, three assists with three steals) and 3:28 on the clock.
When Takeuchi launched a three-pointer that found the target and 2:56 left, the Indians, who for the second consecutive season went undefeated in the Pacific League at 14-0, were in front 17-2.
For good measure, Takeuchi added another field goal while junior guard Abbey Ibarra had a trey that made it 22-2.
Cardenaz closed out the scoring with a hoop as the tone was established that this evening belonged to the Indians.
The second quarter began with Burroughs (41.3 percent on 24 of 58) missing its first two attempts.
But junior guard Brooke Radcliff (three points, three steals and three assists) and Del Castillo erased that and Del Castillo’s bucket with 6:15 remaining made it 29-2.
When the Indians failed to locate the mark on their next five attempts, Meltzer finally scored as did junior guard Melissa Garcia after the Indians missed two straight shots.
“We had this whole week to prepare for them,” said senior point guard and co-captain Delaney Nicol. “Any team that gets into the playoffs has to be good, and we didn’t take them lightly. But we didn’t want to give them any hope early. We wanted to get ahead and we did.”
Brown scored six points in the third quarter as the Indians converted five of 12 from the floor, and Brown later chimed in with five points in the fourth quarter.
Burroughs sophomore guard Haley Wilson scored all of her six points in the third quarter and pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds.
The Chiefs were led by sophomore guard Kahlia Fierro-Tuala with 15 points, followed by six points from senior guard Natalie Garcia.
“We wanted to make sure we withstood their flurry,” Santa Fe coach Robert Ruiz said. “We had to execute and stay patient. We had the jitters [early]. We knew they were the No. 1 seed. In the second quarter we made adjustments. We went to a zone. But it’s a hard mountain to climb when you’re that far behind.”
The Indians canned five of 12 from the field in the third quarter, while the Chiefs nailed three of 12.
Wilson’s bucket with 1:40 showing in the third quarter gave Burroughs a 44-16 edge, and the Indians eventually took a 48-20 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Santa Fe drilled six of 19 and outscored Burroughs, 12-9, in the final stanza with Fierro-Tuala tallying eight points.
Burroughs, which outrebounded Santa Fe, 56-27, was successful on four of 11 attempts in the fourth quarter with sophomore forward Jocelyn Rieken tossing in four points.
“We rushed shots in the first quarter and then we settled down,” Ruiz explained. “Other than that first quarter we played them almost even.”
The Indians quest for their first-ever CIF title marches on down to Westminster with hopes of returning home to host the quarterfinals against the winner of Peninsula and Paloma Valley on Saturday night.