Just in case the Burroughs girls’ basketball team had forgotten what it is like to be a fourth place team in the Pacific League come playoff time after being the No. 1 seed last season, the CIF Southern Section gave it a brutal reminder Sunday in the form of a lengthy road trip.
A 93-mile road trip to Paloma Valley to be exact. Burroughs will travel to play the Wildcats on February 18 to play the No. 2 team out of the Sunbelt League in a Division I-A opener. The Wildcats were 17-9 overall and 8-2 in their league this past season. The Sunbelt League features Perris, Temescal Canyon, Lake Elsinore and Lakeside as well.
The long commute isn’t the only thing the Indians must contend with. The Wildcats have won four of their last five and feature a 6-foot center in Breana Turner who averages 14.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game.
The other piece of their thunder-and-lightning attack is guard Brandy Howard who averages 15 points and four steals per game.
Burroughs did catch a break in the sense that it will be playing a No. 2 seed as opposed to a No. 1, largely because it is a fourth place team out of an 8-team league and the Sunbelt League is a six-team league. The fact that the Indians are just one year removed from a 25-5 record setting season didn’t hurt wither.
This past season, a Burroughs team that was injected with youth after the graduation of so many seniors, went 12-15 overall and 7-7 in league. The Indians had to win its final two games in the regular season and had to survive a scary rumor last week to even qualify for the playoffs.
“We were hearing that Pasadena was going to have to forfeit a win against Crescenta Valley which would have knocked us to fifth,” Burroughs head coach Vicky Oganyan said. “It was just a rumor the player in question had gone injured not ineligible.”
For a young team who had made it a goal to be in the playoffs this season, the greatest challenge may be mental. The Indians will have to resist the urge to lose focus after meeting its primary preseason goal and having a two-hour commute for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off Friday.
We will talk about a whole new season,” Oganyan had said last week. “Hopefully the team will respond.
Offensively Burroughs is led by Aysia Shellmire who averages 15.4 points per game and 9.6 rebounds. Seniors Gabby Pineiro (5.3 ppg, 5.0 rebounds) and April Harris (5.6 ppg, 3.8 rebounds) and freshmen Sidney Ortega ( 5.3 ppg) and Delaney Nicol (4.2 ppg) will also have to play big for Burroughs.