By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
They came, they saw, they conquered.
The talented tandem of Amaad Wainright and Rashid Ewing is beginning to make the Pacific League their own little playground.
Before a sold-out and standing room only crowd at Burbank High, Wainright and Ewing made their first rivalry showdown a special one as they led the Burroughs boys’ basketball team to a resounding 68-48 victory over Burbank Friday night.
The senior transfers from Kansas City, Missouri, were simply too much to handle for the host Bulldogs. Wainright scored 19 points and grabbed 22 rebounds to go along with his eight assists, three blocks and three steals. Ewing pumped in 20 points while collecting 12 rebounds.
In addition, they produced three crowd-pleasing dunks that stirred up the JBHS faithful while demoralizing the opposition.
“When it’s a big crowd I want to play big. I’ve been playing like this my whole life. Preparing for big games,” Wainright said. “I have never seen a crowd like this ever. It was a real big win especially against our rival across the bridge.”
“I was nervous because they talk about the rivalry so much and how the games have been so hard over the years,” Ewing added. “We had to maintain our game and play at a high level.”
Through the first six games in league, the Indians played at a high level leading the league race with a 5-1 mark.
Make that 6-1 and 14-5 overall after Friday night’s tilt vs. their cross-town rivals was no different.
In a wild and entertaining first half, the two teams went toe-to-toe for the first 16 minutes. Burroughs led 19-18 after the first period with Wainright setting the tone with seven early points.
Then the real fun began.
Burroughs coach Adam Hochberg drew up an alley-oop pass during the first quarter timeout that was well-executed as Wainright slammed down a thunderous dunk. Back came Burbank down the court that resulted in a dunk of its own from Anthony Kardosh.
Back-and-forth the battle continued until Burbank’s Mike Woods threw up a floater that went in at the buzzer cutting the Indians lead to 34-33 at halftime.
“I reminded them at halftime, ‘If you are the better team, then you got to prove it for the full duration of the game,’” Hochberg said.
Burbank (9-10, 3-4) came out aggressive in the third quarter scoring eight of the quarter’s first 10 points as BHS jumped out to a 41-38 lead with 3:40 left.
After two free throws from Ewing, Village Christian-transfer David Schwer proceeded to knock down back-to-back treys giving the Indians a 46-41 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the evening.
“It was big momentum,” said Wainright. “We didn’t put our heads down. We held our heads high. We knew it was going to be a good game.”
Schwer’s exploits ignited Burroughs on a 10-0 run to close out the third quarter and a 48-41 lead entering the fourth. The momentum had quickly changed sides.
“We knew he could do that coming in,” Hochberg said. “He hit two big shots. He’s got a nice stroke and it created separation.”
The bleeding didn’t stop there. The Indians turned up their game a notch and went on an 18-3 spurt to begin the final period that blew the game wide open. Burroughs imposed its will during the 28-3 explosion.
A beautiful outlet pass from Wainright to Ewing for a slam dunk gave the Indians a 54-41 lead and sent the JBHS fans into a frenzy at the 5:50 mark.
“We’ve been playing with each other for so long it’s like a chemistry thing,” said Ewing. “Whoever is down low instantly looks all the way down court for the other person. It’s a fast break drill we work on.”
Ewing added a rebound put-back for a 60-44 lead and then a fall-away three-pointer from the right corner that made it 66-44 with 1:46 remaining.
Ewing scored nine points in the fourth as Burroughs outscored Burbank, 20-7.
After allowing 33 points in the first half, Burroughs’ defense locked up Burbank in the second half with a mixture of man and zone and ultimately zone proving to be the great equalizer as the Bulldogs were limited to 15 points.
“I thought we did a good job of trusting in the game plan whether it was going to be us playing man or zone,” Hochberg explained. “We did a better job of packing the zone as the game went along. Our defense was getting stops.
“They diced us the first half whether we were in man or zone. But we did a great job when we went back to the 2-3 of clogging it, moving when the ball was in the air and finding our spots. We wanted them to beat us from the outside because we knew they weren’t the best shooting team.”
Wainright’s emphatic slam for the game’s final points put an exclamation point on the big road victory for the Indians.
In the end, the magnificent duo of Wainright and Ewing was too much to overcome for the Bulldogs. Wainright nearly recorded a triple-double while Ewing notched a double-double.
“Amaad does a bit of everything and he does it well. There is not one facet of the game that you can say he doesn’t do well. He’s a tough matchup,” said Hochberg. “And Rashid was fantastic tonight. He’s a matchup nightmare too. He didn’t settle and went to the basket strong.”
Chris Hovasapian contributed 10 for Burroughs while Richard Elmoyan scored 14 and Adam Pasco added 13 for Burbank.
“We need to come back Monday and go hard in practice and continue to play at the level we are playing at,” Ewing said.
Burroughs hosts Hoover on Tuesday while Burbank is at home against Pasadena as the second round of league play begins.