By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
After a lopsided first quarter, a defensive struggle ensued between the Burroughs High girls’ basketball team and Burbank.
What took place over the last three quarters Friday night was contested at a glacial pace which favored the Bulldogs, but in the end the Indians fended off the Bulldogs, 36-35, in a Pacific League encounter before a roaring capacity crowd at the Doghouse.
With the victory the Indians remain atop the league with a 7-0 record and dropped the Bulldogs to 4-3.
In the waning moments of this thriller junior center Sienna Brown’s basket after a missed free-throw attempt by teammate Paula Galicia pushed the Indians ahead, 34-32, and a pair of charity tosses from senior forward Jakarra Waddell put Burroughs in front, 36-32, with 14 seconds left on the clock.
The Bulldogs weren’t done just yet as junior shooting guard Yazzy Sa’ Dullah, who came in averaging 22 points in league and just over 17 points overall, drained a three-pointer that chopped the advantage to one point, but Burbank would get no closer.
“We missed boxing out,” said Sa’ Dullah, who finished with a game-high 18 points and was referring to the game-winning hoop. “We did a terrible job of boxing out. We have to shake this off because we have another league game against Pasadena [on the road Tuesday], but it’s not going to be easy.”
The battle was tied at 32-32 with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter on a basket from Galicia (co-team best eight points), who was fouled but missed the free throw.
Junior Davina Del Castillo also had eight points for the Indians including six points in the opening half.
Burroughs (15-6) made five of 19 shots from the field in the opening quarter, but Burbank (12-9) connected on one of 10 and trailed 11-2 heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter the Bulldogs (15 of 50 from the floor for 30 percent) converted eight of 15 with Sa’ Dullah scoring eight points as Burbank trailed 20-19 at the half.
Sa’ Dullah’s offensive outburst was helped by senior guard Sharis Ghazeri, who had six of her 10 points at the intermission.
“If the two teams have talented players anyone can win,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “We had a good start because it took a while for Burbank to adjust to us defensively.”
The Indians now own an eight-game winning streak and outscored the Bulldogs 7-6 in the third quarter as Waddell dropped in three of her five points as Burroughs pulled ahead, 27-25, entering the fourth quarter.
“We did everything we needed to do,” Burbank coach Bruce Breeden said. “It got down to three possessions. It took a while to get going. They played a real hard-nosed defense. We allowed their pressure to stop what we do. How do you practice against that? It’s hard to emulate that pressure.”
Breeden added: “We just didn’t finish the game, but I’m very proud of what the girls did. It’s disappointing because of how hard they worked.”
Both teams missed their first three shots to begin the fourth quarter, but a trey from Sa’ Dullah with 5:40 left gave the Bulldogs a 28-27 advantage and forced the Indians to call a time out.
Burbank extended the lead to 32-29 with less than three minutes left before Burroughs mounted the winning rally with a 7-0 run.
The Indians (28 percent on 14 of 50) received a basket from Brown (seven points), but failed to find the hoop on five attempts before Galicia scored to tie it at 32 apiece.
Burroughs made the key plays down the stretch to maintain its hold on to first place in the Pacific League.