While on the court, there are plenty of things going through the mind of Samuel Horning.
As the lone returning starter on the Burroughs High boys’ basketball team, the senior point guard plays the role of leader and mentor while also looking to make a significant impact with his shooting ability.
It’s been a process for Horning during the first part of the season. Yet, he’s admirably filled each role splendidly.
Horning finished with a team-high 26 points to spark host Burroughs to a 79-68 Pacific League win against Hoover on Tuesday.
“It’s mostly about locking in together as a team and being prepared to help in any way I can,” said Horning, who had 16 first-half points. “I was once that little role player, so I can help out now.
“I also know that the ball will be in my hands a lot, so I know I have to step it up, too. Tonight, I thought we were a little slow in the first half and then we picked up the pace in the second half and went from there.”
Burroughs (7-3, 2-0 in league) received 20 points from Jacob Samontina and 10 from Chase Kardosh against Hoover (3-8, 0-2). The Bears improved to 4-1 in their last five games.
Samontina converted on a jump shot to give Burroughs a 32-20 lead with 1:52 remaining in the second quarter. Burroughs, which finished fifth in league and reached the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-A playoffs last season, held a 36-25 lead at halftime.
The Bears extended the lead to 58-38 on a three-pointer by Kardosh with 2:20 to go in the third quarter.
A three-point play by Samontina raised the advantage to 70-53 with 3:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said it’s important to begin the league on the right note.
“You want to get off on the right foot and not have any bad losses,” said Ellis, who got seven points from Jagger Topp. “I think overall we are fine, but we just need to clean up some things defensively.
“I liked our energy level during the second half. We just have to find a way to keep that going.”
Burroughs and Hoover will meet again on Jan. 17 at Hoover.
Burroughs, which began league last Friday with a 93-86 home win versus Glendale, will next participate in a league road contest at 7 p.m. Friday at Muir.