Burroughs High sophomore Jacob Samontina didn’t start the Bears basketball game against visiting Glendale High in the Pacific League opener Friday night.
He also didn’t even score in the first half. But that changed in a big way in the second half, as he rallied Burroughs to a 93-86 victory over the Nitros by scoring 24 points to defeat his father, Art Samontina, who is Glendale’s first-year coach.
“One of our best players got four fouls. I’m kind of behind him as the second point guard,” Jacob Samontina said of Sam Horning. “Seeing that I kind of had to take (over).”
The younger Samontina had to admit after each basketball he made, he had to do what many student athletes do.
“Every time I scored I looked at my dad and gave him a quick look,” Jacob Samontina said.
Art Samontina said this was the first time he has ever coached against his son.
“I’ve trained him since he was little. It’s bittersweet,” Art Samontina said. “I wanted to beat him, but if someone is going to beat us, I’d rather it be him”
Art Samontina joked that his son might get punished for spoiling his introduction to the Pacific League. “I’m not going to talk to him for about a week. We’re probably going to argue,” he said.
Burroughs struggled in the early going as Glendale High senior Dior Pierre scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter.
Both teams continued to play as if a shot clock didn’t exist.
Glendale’s Tino Zadorian hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Nitros a 42-40.
“We didn’t defend the way we needed to. We were still able to play the way we need to on offense,” Burroughs coach Alan Ellis said. “I was real proud of the guys in how resilient they were especially when Sam Horning got in foul trouble. Jacob Samontina was ready to play. He hit some big shots and came through for us.”
Glendale beat the buzzer on a 3-pointer to end the third quarter. This time it broke a tie and put the Nitros up 67-64.
But Samontina was on fire in the final quarter. His 3-pointer with 6:40 to play gave Burroughs a 70-68 lead. He finished the quarter with 19 points, including four shots from 3-point range.
Burroughs also got a fine effort from junior Chase Kardosh, who finished with 24 points. Horning had 19 points. Elden Jackson had 10 points, sophomore Jagger Topp had eight points and junior Arthur Gabrielyan finished with eight.
Pierre talked about the game on how Glendale was unable to keep its first half momentum going.
“I think we came out really wanting it but in the second half we started to let go. We were missing three guys,” Pierre said. “One of them is a starter so it is pretty tough on our rotations. A lot of us are getting tired. Those three guys are key components to our team.”