Girls Basketball Preview: Local Squads Shoot For Success

The Bears, Bulldogs and Pioneers all made the CIF Southern Section playoffs and should again this season.

It's a hoop battle between Burroughs and Burbank and it's always heated and lively. Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Rick Assad

It’s going to be an interesting and fun time for the local girls’ basketball teams as Burroughs High, Burbank and Providence have put together competitive squads.

The Bears compiled an 18-11 mark and went 12-2 for second place in the Pacific League but lost to Paramount 64-35 in a CIF Southern Section Division II AA opening-round game.

The Bears’ projected starting lineup will consist of senior guard Ashley Martin, who is 5-foot-8, junior guard Mariam Fahs [5-8], sophomore guard Anna Phillips [5-11], sophomore center Valentina Morales [6-0], freshman guard Claire Hackney [5-8], while sophomore guard Elizabeth Amoroso [5-8] will also be in the mix, according to Vicky Oganyan, the longtime Burroughs coach.

The rest of the team will be made up of senior guard Mia Paz [5-8], junior center Ella Anderson [5-10], sophomore guard Grace Barton [5-5], sophomore guard Gabriella Buendia [5-1], sophomore guard Alyssa Pracha [5-4], freshman guard Jessica Mena [5-5] and freshman center Polina Gorgeiz [6-2].

“We expect to be well prepared for every league opponent and compete every game,” Oganyan said. “Our league remains very balanced with a lot of talented teams and really strong coaches. Crescenta Valley returns the MVP of the league and remains to be the team to beat. However, we expect every game to be a tough battle as everyone else has their share of talent.”

The Bears, who are 6-0, kicked off their season with three games in Hawaii and came away with three victories.

Providence had a productive season and looks forward to doing even better this campaign. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“Overall, we are looking to continue to grow and get better as a team as the season progresses. We have two seniors, Mia Paz and Ashley Martin, who will lead the way with their experience,” Oganyan said. “The rest of the group will consist of three freshmen, six sophomores, and two juniors.”

Oganyan added: “We know the future is bright for us and we just have to keep upholding the values that make up our culture,” she noted.

Oganyan looks for leadership from Fahs.

“Mariam finished last season peaking and has picked up where she left off last season,” she said. “She should be one of our leaders on the court both offensively and defensively.”

Under Kris Jabourian, the Burbank coach, the Bulldogs went 15-14 and 9-5 for third place in the Pacific League and advanced to the postseason.

The Bulldogs, who are 1-3 this season, fell to Corona del Mar 48-29 in the first round of the Division III AA.

The likely starters for Burbank are senior point guard/shooting guard Nikaela Damasen, junior power forward Lauren Navarro, junior Lili Okhotyan, junior shooting guard Arevita Keshishyan and freshman shooting guard Andrea Aparicio [5-6].

Also on the team will be senior power forward Amira Shagirova, junior shooting guard Emily Galoustian [5-7], junior point guard Leandra Nazarian [5-6], junior center/power forward Ava Casey and junior shooting guard Mary Mkrtchyan.

The rest of the squad includes sophomore point guard/shooting guard Sophia Aldana [5-4], sophomore point guard Charlotte Hartwell [5-4], sophomore shooting guard Yvette Soukianzian, sophomore point guard Ani Dionysian [5-4] and Natalie Setaghian. 

“We’re very young and inexperienced but play really hard and are learning every day,” Jabourian said of his young team.

A season ago, Providence had a solid campaign after carving out a 15-11 record overall and placed third in the Prep League after an 8-4 mark and also qualified for the playoffs..

Junior guard Mariam Fahs will be asked to be a leader for the Bears. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Pioneers lost in the opening round to Culver City 52-22 in the Division II A tournament.

Under Coach Kristineh Zadourian, Providence looks forward to an even better season and are 2-0 this campaign.

Here are the members of the team and they include Audrey Sayoc, Sophie Nazarian, Katelyn Alvarado, Justine Nunez, Haley, Laca, Sydney Sayoc, Ava Yood-Howard and Natalie Haroutounian.

Also on the team are Genesis Molina, point guard Ariel Gordillo, shooting guard Keara Garcia, Ava Tibbs, Dolce Prieto, junior point guard Hayden McGuan [5-5] and Maribel Matar.

The remaining players include senior Lia Krumian, Celine Demirjian, Nicole Kadi, Bella Nazarian, Andrea Ferrer, Sylvie Demirjian, Nikki Sly, Zara Ovanessian, Katie Karroum, senior Bridget Crenshaw, Emily Avila, Taline Kadi, Ella Shenouda, point guard Jyah Lo Vett [5-7], Zhea Jo Ranises, Ariana Najarian and Zoe Tsao.

Only time will tell how well the local girls’ hoop teams will fare, but it’s certainly going to be enjoyable watching the campaign play out. season.

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