By Rick Assad
It’s a formula that’s been around since the beginning of basketball and is usually highly effective.
Pressure defense in the backcourt leads to turnovers which leads to points, and it worked well for the Burroughs High girls’ hoop team when it faced Paloma Valley on Thursday night.
Behind two 20-point quarters, the Bears raced to an early lead and cruised to a 62-37 win in a CIF Southern Section Division II A first-round game.
Next on the agenda for Burroughs will be Aquinas on the road Saturday in a second-round match. The game will tipoff at 5 p.m.
“We were locked in on our defensive assignments and did a great job sharing the ball right from the tip off,” longtime Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “Many players contributed with strong effort both offensively and defensively.”
Always reliable and steady, junior guard Mariam Fahs poured in a game-high 21 points with 15 points tallied in the opening half when the Bears led 40-19 as the hosts shot 50 percent on 18 of 36, compared to 26.9 percent on seven of 26 for the Wildcats.
Sophomore center Valentina Morales stood tall as she tossed in 14 points for the Bears including eight points at the intermission.
Burroughs senior guard Ashley Martin is extremely athletic and accounted for 14 points with eight points being tallied at the half.
The Bears (24-5) shot 45.7 percent on 27 of 59 from the field while the Wildcats (15-10) made 15 of 49 for 30.6 percent.
Burroughs led 20-11 after the first period including 12-2 on a bucket from Fahs with 4:00 left in the quarter.
The Bears extended their advantage to 21 points after the second period including 28-18 with 3:40 left on a hoop from Morales and 38-18 on a basket from Fahs with 1:04 remaining before the break.
Fahs scored six points in the first period and then added nine points in the second period that include a three-pointer.
“The scoring comes naturally for me. I look to score when I can, but I don’t force anything if it’s not there,” Fahs said. “Playing as a team won the game for us. Our ball movement was amazing, and the team chemistry showed.”
The Wildcats were paced offensively by senior guard Ashlee Moreno with 13 points, including nine in the second half.
Each team scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Bears led 53-32 as Fahs and Morales each accounted for four points and Moreno scored six points for the visitors.
Burroughs outscored Paloma Valley 9-5 in the fourth quarter as Martin tallied four points and junior forward Ella Anderson canned a three-pointer for her only points.
In the second quarter, sophomore guard Elizabeth Amoroso drilled a trey for her only points and sophomore guard Anna Phillips sank a three-pointer in the initial frame for her only points.
The Bears outrebounded the Wildcats 40-22 and nailed three of six for 50 percent from the free-throw line while Paloma Valley hit three of five for 60 percent from the charity stripe.