By Dick Dornan
BurbankNBeyond Sports Editor
With plenty of resolve and determination, the Burroughs girls basketball team ended 2012 with the same aspirations for 2013: a championship trophy in hand. Sidney Ortega scored 21 points to lead the Indians to the West Coast Festival Holiday Tournament title over St. Monica, 65-57. A total of 32 teams participated in the five day tournament.
Senior Aysia Shellmire added 14 points, including 10 huge points in the fourth quarter, Bailee Trotta chipped in with 13, and All-Tournament selection Davina Del Castillo contributed 15 rebounds, seven assists and six points.
“This gives us a lot of confidence and I think we will raise up and take our skills to another level,” said Shellmire, a three-year starter for JBHS. “This is my last year and I’m ready to go all out. I want to focus on the team and getting it done.”
Burroughs (11-2) fell behind 8-2 to begin the game but responded with an emphatic 15-4 run to take a 17-12 lead.
Tied at 17 apiece early in the second quarter, Trotta knocked down an open 12-footer to cap a 14-1 run to make the score 31-18.
The Indians led at halftime, 33-22, and increased their advantage to 46-31 late in the third quarter after Trotta coverted a rare four-point play. She was fouled on a three-point basket from the right wing and made the subsequent free throw.
Trailing 50-38 to begin the fourth quarter, St. Monica (13-3) rallied behind the inspiring play of Briana Harris who scored a game-high and tournament record 40 points.
Harris scored the first 10 Mariner points of the final period to cut the deficit to 50-48.
With 4:28 remaining in the contest, Shellmire stepped up and hit a soft turnaround jumper from 10 feet out to give the Indians a 52-48 lead. After a St. Monica field goal, Shellmire came through again with back-to-back offensive rebound put-backs to extend the lead to 56-50.
Shellmire wasn’t finished. After Harris connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key, Shellmire hit another smooth jumper from the left elbow followed by a layup for a 60-55 lead with 2:05 to go.
A beautifully designed backdoor cut for a layup by Ortega after a timeout made it 62-55 with less than a minute left.
“I was very happy to see my team be able to maintain composure and make some big plays,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. “We responded with our own offense and that was good to see.”
Harris did all she could for St. Monica scoring 15 of her 40 points in the fourth quarter. Shellmire carried Burroughs in the final period with her 10 pivotal points. It was a dual that left the crowd buzzing in admiration for each player.
“I don’t know what came over me,” Shellmire said. “I didn’t have a very good third quarter so I felt I needed to step up.”
Shellmire did and the Indians are now 11-2 as a result.
“I am happy with the way we are playing,” Oganyan said. “It’s nice but we have to focus on league. Everybody in league will be ready for us. Now we have a target on us.”
Burroughs begins Pacific League action on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Glendale High.