Rick’s Sports Corner: Burroughs Girls Hoopsters Trip To Paradise

The five-day, three-game trip to Hawaii set the team in motion and is a boon to the girls.

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By Rick Assad

Before taking on the Pacific League schedule and what it will mean for the CIF Southern Section Division II A playoffs, the Burroughs High girls’ hoops team began its season three thousand miles away.

For nearly a week, the Bears were in Hawaii and played three games and finished that brief campaign unblemished.

The team and staff stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort on the island of Maui and aside from playing King Kekaulike twice and winning 60-39 and 57-47 and also defeating Kamehameha 51-39, the Bears enjoyed the fun aspects of the island paradise.

When the squad wasn’t on the court, they went to the beach like most tourists, and took up blue water rafting, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking and visiting beautiful waterfalls.

It wasn’t all fun and games for the 13-member team as the girls had an hour each day of study hall in order to keep up with their studies.

Senior guard Ashley Martin, junior guard Mariam Fahs and freshman guard Claire Hackney played key roles as the trio were the leading scorers, while sophomore center Valentina Morales controlled the backboards and was the top rebounder for the Bears, who are currently 9-0 overall and 3-0 in league after convincing decisions over Glendale 58-26, Arcadia 57-36 and on the road against Pasadena 55-23.

“This was a great team bonding experience for the girls,” said longtime Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan. “They will have this memory forever.”

The Burroughs girls’ basketball team began the season with three games in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy Vicky Oganyan)

The rest of the team includes senior guard Mia Paz, junior guard Ella Anderson, sophomore guard Alyssa Pracha, sophomore guard Elizabeth Amoroso, sophomore forward Grace Barton, sophomore guard Anna Phillips, sophomore guard Gabriella Buendia, freshman guard Jessica Mena and freshman guard Polina Gorgeiz.

Fahs is one of the floor leaders for the Bears and thinks the trip to Hawaii is simply invaluable and will be helpful down the road.

“The trip was beneficial because we got to bond with players we don’t talk to as much and so the team got a lot closer as a whole and our chemistry strengthened,” Fahs explained. “I loved all the fun activities with the team and being able to relax on my own time on the beach.”

Fahs credits Oganyan with making the stay even more enjoyable and fun.

“Coach gave us a lot of freedom, which I appreciated because I got to do what I wanted with my closest teammates,” she noted. “We also had quality time with our coaches on the water slides and in the hot tub, having fun and talking about things other than basketball.”

Fahs went on: “It also helped the team understand its weaknesses so that going into the league we can improve in those areas and get better,” she added.

Garnering as much knowledge as possible will help the team as the season progresses.

“I learned a lot about the team but don’t want to say too much due to our competition scouting us,” Fahs admitted. “We have great shooters, drivers, and rebounders. We are selfless players and move around the ball a lot and aim to get the best shot possible. We work well together on and off the court and are always supportive and encouraging of each other.”  

Three games across five days in the 50th state isn’t too much, but it’s still a learning experience according to Fahs.

“Three games was good because it gave us enough time to rest in between and to prepare ourselves for the next game. I always love playing more games because certain players show new skills the more they play and get comfortable,” she said. “For the newer players on the team, it’s hard to get comfortable on the court and play calm, so these games were good to have before the league.”

Who could ask for anything more than a trip to Hawaii and play a game they love?