By Rick Assad
If Saturday night’s CIF Southern Section Division II AA first round girls’ basketball game between host Burroughs High and Flintridge Prep proved anything, it’s that a balanced team is superior to having one outstanding player.
Converting 13 three-point shots including nine in the opening half, the Bears romped to a 73-39 victory and will play on Wednesday in a second-round match.
Noor Fahs showed off multiple skills as the senior small forward accounted for a team-high 25 points.
Junior power forward Izzy Roderick chimed in with 16 points and grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists, while junior point guard Rachel Little scored 12 points all on three-pointers, followed by senior point guard Hailey Dowthwaite’s 11 points.
The Wolves’ junior point guard Ashley Chea accounted for a game-best 30 points and came into the contest averaging 31.1 points.
If a game could be clinched in the first quarter, this was it as the Bears jumped out to a 23-8 lead and never looked back.
“She’s our confident senior who can score from the outside and inside,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said of Fahs, who made six three-pointers. ”She loves having that role and she’s doing a great job in it. When she’s on and the other girls are on, we’re hard to stop.”
Little’s trey with 5:33 remaining in the first period handed the Bears an 11-2 advantage.
A 19-point explosion followed in the second period for Burroughs as the hosts led 42-16 at the intermission.
Fahs dropped 14 points at halftime and delivered 11 points that included three from three-point range in the first frame.
“It just happened. We made sure that we became more of a passing team rather than a one on five team,” said Fahs, who pulled down seven rebounds and had nine steals along with three assists of the outside shooting. “We made sure we found the open person and everybody’s threes were falling. We were set and we were ready to shoot.”
Fahs, who is considering attending among other schools, Harvard and UCLA, believes that this was the Bears’ best overall game this season.
“If you consider the entire game, this is our best game. We’ve had quarters here and there where we played really well, but I think this is the first game where we played consistently all four quarters,” she said. “Great offense and even better defense, especially with the face guard and they have a great girl on their team.”
Roderick tossed in six points in the first quarter and delivered eight points by halftime.
Dowthwaite’s big quarter was the second as she accounted for nine points that saw her tally three from three-point range.
When Dowthwaite’s trey found the bottom of the net, Burroughs, which drilled 27 of 58 for 46.5 percent from the field and six of 10 from the free-throw line for 60 percent, pulled ahead 33-9 as 5:34 was left in the second period.
From the opening tip, the Bears (22-6 overall and 6-1 for second place in the Pacific League) moved the ball to the open player and more often than not, that player put the ball in the hoop.
Chea, who is being recruited by teams in the Pacific 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East and Ivy League, can literally score from anywhere on the court.
On this evening, Chea settled for taking the ball to the hoop, but also hit some long-range shots.
“She’s a really good player and we gave her that respect,” Oganyan said of Chea. “But I told my team that when she does get the ball, everybody’s eyes need to be on her. We made her work for her shots.”
An honor student with a near 4.0 grade-point average, Chea scored six points in the initial period and added five points in the second quarter.
Chea scored all of her team’s 11 points in the third period and then tacked on eight points in the fourth quarter.
It didn’t help that Flintridge Prep’s second-best player, sophomore guard Maddie Chiu was out with a back injury.
Junior guard Ivana Razov, who also collected five caroms and had four assists, nailed a three-pointer for all of her points, while sophomore forward Ashley Martin, sophomore guard Karly Geris and sophomore guard Natalie Sanchez all contributed two points for the Bears.
Flintridge Prep (15-7 and 9-2 for second place in the Prep League) shot 35.7 percent (15 of 42) from the floor and made seven of 10 free throws for (70 percent).