By Rick Assad
Special to BurbankNBeyond
Forget that neither Burroughs nor Burbank shot especially well from the field during Friday’s Pacific League showdown, or that it was sloppy at times.
What mattered was the Indians held a commanding 16-point halftime lead, but the Bulldogs rallied in the fourth quarter only to fall short, 54-46, in a contest that snapped a first-place tie before a near-capacity crowd at the Indians gym.
Burroughs (17-3, 6-1 in league) remains in first place atop the league standings while Burbank (9-11, 5-2 in league) slipped into second with seven games remaining.
After being behind from the opening tip, the Bulldogs came to within 37-30 and 6:55 left in the final quarter when senior shooting guard Jamie Gonzalez (team-best 13 points) stole the ball and put in a layup.
Senior center Courtney Seidler (12 points) added a hoop with 2:25 remaining to cut the deficit to 48-41.
That aside, Aysia Shellmire held the spotlight from the outset as the senior center delivered a calm and cool game-best 19 points with nine rebounds for the Indians.
“I think we knew even with the big lead we were going to have to hang on,” said Shellmire, who scored 11 points in the second half. “It was really loud in there, and they [teammates] were having a hard time hearing me, so I had to give hand signals.”
Burroughs, who shot 35.1 percent from the floor (19 of 54), had a 16-5 lead after eight minutes, and were ahead 28-12 at the intermission as sophomore point guard Delaney Nicol tallied all nine points in the opening half, while Shellmire added eight.
“I think Burbank had a tough time in the first half,” Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. “I was surprised we were ahead by 16 at the half, but I knew they were going to come back because they have players who can make plays.”
No other JBHS player reached double figures, but senior shooting guard Bailee Trotta finished with nine points, followed by sophomore forward Davina Del Castillo, who chimed in with six points.
Maybe nerves were the cause, but the Indians came out and missed their first seven shots in the opening quarter, and didn’t get on the board until Nicol scored midway through.
Nicol’s hoop inspired her teammates as Burroughs finished the eight-minute stanza draining four of its next six attempts.
Burbank, which shot 12 percent (three of 25) in the opening half and 28.8 percent (17 of 59) overall, began the game making only one of its first 14 shots.
Poor shooting continued for both into the second quarter as Burbank converted two of 11, with senior small forward Lysette Perez (eight points) contributing five points. Burroughs made five of 16 as Shellmire dropped in six points.
The Indians began the third quarter by failing to locate the hoop on their first five shots but Shellmire’s follow with 6:05 showing made it 30-15.
Burroughs was successful on two of seven over the rest of the quarter and entered the fourth quarter ahead, 37-24.
Junior point guard Sharis Ghazeri (seven points) scored five points in the third quarter for the Bulldogs, who converted five of 16, while Gonzalez accounted for three points.
“We were zero for 11 underneath the basket in the first half, and 13 or 14 for 16 underneath the basket in the second half,” Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. “Hey, we came back. We made some mistakes, but they’re all fixable mistakes.”