Tag Archives: Abdullah Kobaissi

Burbank Boys Basketball Sees State Playoff Run End

For three quarters the Burbank High boys’ basketball team executed arguably as well as it has all season in facing visiting Immanuel of Reedley Tuesday night in the CIF State Division 4 quarterfinals.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

But the Bulldogs could not finish the job and fell 58-57 in the last of many thrilling contests throughout the postseason.

Burbank coach Jamayne Potts praised his team for producing arguably the greatest team in school history in posting a 25-10 record.

BHS Boys Basketball FINAL GAME

“What they did was change the culture of Burbank High basketball,” Potts said of his seniors. “When I was first hired teams would send their JV teams to play us. They wouldn’t let us into the Maxpreps tournament. The respect and culture change that they have done for this program is everlasting. When I was first hired I could count in the stands how many people were there. Now it is amazing how much support (we have). We didn’t a championship, but we changed things and I’m so proud of these seniors.”

After falling behind in many of its playoff games early on, Burbank came out strong from the start for a second straight game.
Burbank led by as many as 10 points on two separate occasions in the first half.

Immanuel (23-8) came out strong to start the second half after Burbank held a 35-26 advantage at the break.

But Burbank answered that challenge by going on an 11-0 run to make it 46-33 with 1:59 left in the third quarter following a pair of free throws from Michael Woods. Woods had 14 points.

Burbank maintained a 10-point cushion with 6:46 to play following a pair of free throws from Thomas Clark.

BHS Boys Basketball FINAL GAME

But the visiting Eagles came behind their two stars, point guard Nate Kendricks and 6-foot-6 post player Darrin Person Jr., who finished with a game-high 32 points.
Person, who will play for Cal State Bakersfield next year, scored what turned out to be the game-winning basket with 6.3 seconds left when he hit a turn-around shot.
“We missed some key free throws down the stretch where we could have pushed the lead to seven,” Potts said. “We missed the front end of one-on-ones. That changes the game a little bit. I thought we did an awesome job defensively tonight. Unfortunately they pounded it in to (Person) and he made big plays.”

Immanuel coach Nate McClurg praised Burbank.
“They’ve got a lot of really good players. Jamayne does a really good job. They play their butts off. They execute, they stay within their stuff. I think this is one of those games where we made one more play than they did. If there would have been another 15 seconds, it might have gone the other way.”
Faraz Khandaker led the Bulldogs with 16 points.
Clark had seven points and Abdullah Kobaissi and Cameron Sweeten each had six. Ben Chavez had five points and Tyrese Willis had three.

Burbank Boys Basketball Outlasts Blair

For much of the postseason the Burbank High boys’ basketball team has been the team that has rallied to pull off a number of upset victories.
Saturday night things were a little different for the Bulldogs against Blair High of Pasadena.
Blair gave Burbank all it could handle and then some in forcing overtime before the Bulldogs prevailed 73-70 in the second round of the CIF Division 4 state touranment.
Burbank will host Immanuel High of Reedley in the semifinals of the Southern Region on Tuesday.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“What I’m proud of most tonight is that we got off to a better start,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said. “Every game we’ve had a slow start. Tonight we got out to a 21-14 lead, so I think the good start helped us with our win.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We knew coming in that Blair was a lot like us in that the fight was always going to be there. They’re athletic, they like to drive. I thought we did a pretty good job of putting the ball in the hole tonight. We made more free throws, so I was proud of us offensively. We kept our composure.”
Burbank (25-9) actually led 17-4 early on in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs also got a spark from sophomore point guard Tyrese Willis, who finished with 11 points.
“The game plan was to play Tyrese a little more because the minutes he’s gotten in other games, he’s looking more and more confident,” Potts said.
But Blair, which had just nine players and does not have any lower level teams, fought back.
The two teams were tied at 35 at halftime.
Burbank continued to hold the lead until the Vikings took a 60-59 lead with 4:29 to play on a pair of free throws by Jack Dakan.
Dakan gave Blair its only lead of the overtime period when he hit a three-pointer to make it 69-68. He had a game-high 25 points.
Burbank re-took the lead on a basket by Abdullah Kobaissi, which was followed by a pair of free throws from Michael Woods with 49 seconds left in overtime to make it 72-69. Woods led Burbank with 21 points.
Burbank got 12 points from Kobaissi, 11 from Cameron Sweeten and nine from Thomas Clark. Ben Chavez had five points and Faraz Khandaker had four.

Burbank Boys Basketball Survives in State Tournament

If there is a pattern that Burbank High boys’ basketball team has developed in postseason play this season it has been that the Bulldogs save their best for last.

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

Despite playing far from its best this season, the Bulldogs did enough to move on in the CIF State Tournament Wednesday defeating visiting Madera South High 55-53 in a Division 4 first-round game.

“I didn’t like our defense the first three quarters, but kudos to us (because) we held them to five points in the fourth quarter,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said.

Potts credited his schedule for preparing his team.

“We’ve been in tough games since league,” he said. “We’re able to get through those games because we’ve been in so many.”

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

Burbank (24-9) will host Blair of Pasadena Saturday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the state Division 4 playoffs.

Burbank didn’t take its first second-half lead until Thomas Clark hit a three pointer with 2:12 left to make it 53-51.

“I thought our half court offense was actually fine. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, which has been a pattern,” Potts said. “Offensively I was okay with how we did things, what the focus was. We gave up 12 offensive rebounds, so I’m not happy with that. We shot 21 free throws which is good. The more we can shoot, the more we will make even though the percentage may not be great.”

Burbank star Michael Woods agreed that his team has seen better days.

“We executed well, we just didn’t finish our layups and our shots,” Woods said.

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

Potts said he was surprised to see his team placed in the Division 4 tournament for the state playoffs, and as the top seed for Southern California.
“We’re just out to win each game. We appreciate the support we’ve been getting. We have our own personal goals and we’d like to get back to the championship. Whether a win is ugly or it looks good, it’s just about getting a win.”

Burbank got 10 points each from Woods, Cameron Sweeten and Faraz Khandaker. Abdullah Kobaissi had nine points, Clark had eight, Ben Chavez had five, Henrik Anassian two and Tyrese Willis had one point.

Madera South finishes its season with a 20-12 mark.

Burbank Boys Hoop Seniors End Extraordinary Ride

By Rick Assad


It hardly seems fair that the Burbank High boys’ basketball team lost a game at the buzzer with the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA title in the balance.

This was especially heartbreaking for the starting seniors, swingman Michael Woods, point guard Cameron Sweeten, forward Faraz Khandaker, shooting guard Ben Chavez and forward Abdullah Kobaissi.

These in particular helped the Bulldogs reach the finals for the first time since 1926 before losing 55-54 to Brentwood in overtime on Friday night at Azusa Pacific University.

Senior swingman Michael Woods scored 10 points and added 10 rebounds in the CIF title game against Brentwood. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Down two points and 4.1 seconds remaining, forward Braelee Albert (27 points with 11 rebounds) hit an off-balance three-pointer with Sweeten, who pulled down seven rebounds and handed out one assist, guarding him.

Still, this playoff run was historic and will be remembered a long time.

“We’ve been playing together forever, from elementary school,” said Woods, who dropped in 10 points with a team-high 10 rebounds and one assist with four fouls. “The chemistry is there. We’ve got Coach [Jamayne] Potts and that was a blessing.”

Forward Faraz Khandaker led the way with 18 points for the Bulldogs. The senior also added eight rebounds. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Woods went on: “Me and Cameron were supposed to go to Notre Dame, but I wouldn’t change anything.”

Sweeten is the floor leader and a quiet presence.

“I don’t dwell on those type of things much,” he said of the game-winning shot made by the Eagle sophomore. “The game plan was to switch on everything. We didn’t want to give up the three.”

Sweeten scored all nine points in the fourth quarter, including the tying hoop that made it 47-47 as the Bulldogs (19 of 62 for 30.6 percent) fell behind 35-29 after three periods.

“Coach drew up a play and I executed it,” said Sweeten of the tying bucket at the end of the fourth quarter.

Both teams struggled to find the hoop in the extra period with Burbank making two of six and the Eagles hitting three of nine.

Senior point guard Cameron Sweeten scored all nine points in the fourth quarter, including the game-tying basket. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Khandaker made seven of 15 from the floor and two of seven from three-point range.

Khandaker scored a team-best 18 points, including four points in overtime.

“I know our team, and even if it’s down 20 points or 30 points, we’re going to continue and keep on fighting,” said Khandaker, who led the way with nine points in the first half and ended the night with eight boards and two assists.

Woods said stopping Brentwood’s offense was a major priority. “We really pride ourselves on defense,” he said. “We want to play aggressively and our goal was to help each other out.”

Potts was of course disappointed in the outcome. “I’m extremely proud of my guys,” he said. “We were undersized, but we came back. I can’t say enough about the seniors. I’m really proud of this senior group.”

Brentwood made nine of 29 for 31 percent in the first half and ended the game making 34.4 percent (22 of 64).

Chavez dropped in six points with five rebounds and one assist, senior forward Thomas Clark tossed in four points with six rebounds and fouled out, Kobaissi had five points with five boards and senior guard Henrik Anassian scored two points with two assists.

Burbank Boys Basketball Stunned in Overtime


Some of the most difficult and trying times in life are experienced in sports.

The Burbank High boys’ basketball team learned that the hard way Friday night in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship against Brentwood School at Azusa Pacific University.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Brentwood’s Braelee Albert hit an off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to hand the Bulldogs a 55-54 defeat.

“The game plan was to switch everything. We didn’t want to give up a three,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said of the final play of the game. “We switched it. Cameron (Sweeten) played excellent defense. The guy  Braelee Albert couldn’t go anywhere, he tried behind the back he finally had to pick it up and chuck one up there and it went in.”

Potts praised his team, which trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, for fighting back to send the game into overtime.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I’m extremely proud of my guys. Once again we were down, but not out and came back. Once again we showed a lot of heart. I’m proud of our execution,” Potts said. “ I can’t say enough about the seniors and their leadership this year.  They put us in this position to have a CIF championship.  We’ll bounce back and get ready for the state playoffs.”

Burbank (23-9) certainly was far from its best this season, making just 19 of 62 shots.

“I thought we had a lot of opportunities that we were missing. When we started to knock down shots, that’s when we got back into the game,” Potts said. “I thought what hurt us was offensive rebounding.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Brentwood (23-8) led much of the way in the second half and appeared to have pulled away when it took a 43-32 lead with 4:38 to play.

But Burbank did as it has done the entire postseason by rallying. The Bulldogs started with a full-court press that made things difficult for the Eagles.

The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run and got huge three-point shots from Ben Chavez and Faraz Khandaker, as well as a three-point play from Sweeten.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Sweeten came up big with two key baskets to send the game into overtime, one with 1.2 seconds left in regulation.

In the overtime period, Khandaker completed a three-point play to make 53-52 and later added a free throw with 11 seconds left to give Burbank a two-point cushion.

Khandaker led Burbank with 18 points. Michael Woods had 10 points and Sweeten had nine. Chavez had six points, Abdullah Kobaissi had five, Thomas Clark had four and Henrik Anassian had two.

Burbank will open in the state playoffs next week, with the hope of erasing Friday’s nightmare.

“I’m already over it. I don’t dwell on things much,” Sweeten said. “He hit his shot. It’s basketball game, it’s a game of luck.”


Burbank Boys’ Basketball Team Creates Another Miracle

Playing for one CIF Southern Section championship in a major sport isn’t enough to satisfy Burbank High during the 2016-17 school year.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Duplicating the effort of the football team, the Bulldogs boys’ basketball team has also advanced to a championship contest.

Friday night the host Bulldogs pulled off one of the greatest victories in school history in any sport by defeating third-seeded Rancho Mirage 76-71 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals.

Rancho Mirage enjoyed a tremendous height advantage in that no Burbank starter was as tall as the shortest starter for the visitors.

“They’ve been talking to us ever since we got into the playoffs. They’ve been telling us nonstop to stay focused and take one game at a time, don’t let it slip away. They’ve been really good mentors for us,” Burbank’s Faraz Khandaker said of the football players. “We’ve been battling with size since we were sophomores. Sometimes it is heart over height.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank (23-8) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter. The Bulldogs were down 40-27 with 2:26 left in the first half as Rancho Mirage star Charles Neal was on fire. Neal scored 15 of his team-high 23 points in the first half.  Michael Woods hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half to cut the deficit to 41-35.

Every time it looked like Rancho Mirage (28-4) was on the verge of pulling away, Burbank would answer back.

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with 2:50 left on a three-pointer by Woods to make it 68-67. He finished with a game-high 30 points.

Rancho Mirage re-took the lead twice more before Burbank went up 72-71 on a goaltending call following a shot by Thomas Clark.

“I feel like in the second half we pulled it together,” Woods said. “Nobody wants to go home, we want to keep playing. I never thought this was going to happen. Coach (Jamayne) Potts came in and he helped us out. We were struggling my freshman and sophomore year.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Potts said keeping his team under control was the key.

“I told them one at a time don’t panic. I said play harder, play smarter, but don’t panic,” the second-year Burbank coach said. “That’s what they did.”

Burbank will face Brentwood in the CIF championship game at a site, time and date to be determined.

It will be Burbank’s first appearance in a CIF championship in basketball since 1926, when the Bulldogs lost 12-8 to Anaheim in the Class C title game. As a school, Burbank will be looking for its first CIF title since 1993 when the boys’ tennis team captured the Division 3 crown.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank has two just two players, sophomores Eric Harutyunyan and Duncan Smith, who also played on the football team.

“Too bad the football team couldn’t get it,” Woods said of a CIF title. “We saw how the football team felt. We just have to go as hard as we can to bring one to the city of Burbank.”

Khandaker and Clark each had 12 points. Ben Chavez had eight points, Abdullah Kobaissi had six, Cameron Sweeten five and Henrik Anassian three points.


Burbank Boys Basketball Earns Trip Back to CIF Quarterfinals

The Burbank High boys’ basketball team knew before the start of its second round CIF Southern Section playoff contest against visiting La Sierra that it would be playing at home in the quarterfinals if it prevailed against the visiting Eagles.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

That news of winning a pair of coin flips was well taken by the Bulldogs, who then proceed to defeat La Sierra 58-48 in a Division 3AA contest.

Burbank will host second-seeded Crean Lutheran of Irvine Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

“Once he said we have a home game Tuesday we were really motivated,” Burbank star Michael Woods said of coach Jamayne Potts. “We want to keep on going. I feel like everyone is having fun.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Woods, who had a game-high 23 points, said his team has also drawn motivation from seeing the football team advance to a CIF championship game in the fall.

“I’ve got best friends on the football team,” Woods said. “We saw what it (success) brought to the city. They were disappointed in the end, but we don’t want to have the same (ending).”

When Burbank (21-8) went to a zone defense, it seemed to bother La Sierra. The Eagles at times tried to full press the Bulldogs. However, Burbank did a good job of taking care of the ball and it resulted in some transition baskets.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We said if we take care of the basketball we’ll win the game,” Potts said. “We were in single digits in turnovers.”

Potts also credited playing at home in helping his team.

“Overall it was a great team win,” he said. “We had great support from our student body and community and it makes a difference. We’re happy we’re going to be home on Tuesday.”

Burbank led 28-27 at halftime and never led by more than four points in the third quarter until a basket by Faraz Khandaker with 20 seconds left made it 44-39.

Woods helped open things with a three-pointer with 4:11 to play to make it 50-43.

La Sierra (21-7) wasn’t finished just yet as a three-pointer from Anthony Teffeteller made it 50-48 with 2:19 left.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

But that was the last point La Sierra would score.

Woods’ behind the back pass and subsequent basket by Khandaker with 1:21 gave Burbank a 54-48 lead.

Khandaker finished with 13 points and Abdullah Kobaissi had 12. Cameron Sweeten had four points and Thomas Clark and Ben Chavez each had three.





Burbank Boys’ Basketball Team Runs Past Hoover

By Nareg Atteukenian

After trailing in the first quarter, the Burbank High boys’ basketball team took the lead on the first basket of the second quarter and never looked back, defeating visiting Hoover High 78-48 Friday evening in a Pacific League contest F.

Scoring 27 points in the second quarter, including three 3-pointers from Faraz Khandaker, helped surge the Bulldogs to a commanding 38-23 halftime lead.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Having two usual starters come off the bench, Faraz Khandaker and Abdullah Kobaissi, helped to give the Bulldogs the surge they needed in the second quarter.

“I wanted each senior to have an opportunity to start,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said of his decision to start Henrik Anassian and Ben Chavez. “I’m comfortable with starting any of them.”

Burbank (16-6, 5-4 in league) took advantage of its opportunities to shoot from long distance, making 13 three-pointers.

“We definitely have the ability to hit the three ball,” Potts said. “We’re going to shoot a very good percentage when its open.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank guard Henrik Anassian, who generally comes off the bench, assessed the situation.

“They were taking away the paint so we took the open three,” Anassian said.. “We take whatever was given to us.”

Ben Chavez had a spectacular night hitting three consecutive three-pointers to start the fourth quarter, Potts was able to give his younger players a chance to get into in the action.

After a group of Burbank sophomores entered the game with 3:10 left, they hit subsequently hit three more three-pointers to help extend Burbank’s lead and finish the game on a strong note.

“I have a lot of confidence in the sophomores,” says coach Potts. “The pressure is nothing new because they battle every day at practice.”

Burbank held Hoover to just six points in the fourth quarter.

Burbank was led by Michael Woods who had 15 points. Ben Chavez had 14 points, Khandaker and Kobaissi had 12 each. Luke Johnson had six points, Cameron Sweeten had five, Anassian and Chance Van Hook had three each. Erik Harutyunyan and Jared Pasion had two points each.



Burbank Boys’ Basketball Far Too Much for Chavez

It wasn’t the best game the Burbank High boys’ basketball has played all season.

But the Bulldogs did enough to defeat Chavez High 69-48 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Village Christian Christmas Classic.

“I give Chavez credit,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said. “They use the terminology for basketball terms what we call junk defense. It was something we hadn’t seen before.  Their defense was designed to cause a lot of confusion.  In the second half I thought we handled it a lot better with the ball movement.”

Burbank 10-1 will play Camarillo in the semifinals Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

The Bulldogs struggled shooting in the first half, making just one of 12 attempts from three-point range. Burbank also made just 3 of 11 free throws as a team in the first half.

“I didn’t think we were aggressive towards the basket.  At halftime we talked about attack the basket a lot more,” Potts said. “When we did that even if we didn’t make the first one, we got the offensive rebound and the put back.”

Burbank ended up making 28 of 63 field goal attempts and nine of 21 free throws.

Faraz Khandaker helped Burbank extend its lead to 43-30 by the end of the third quarter before Burbank pulled away early in the final period.

Khandaker finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.  Thomas Clark had 14 points and seven rebounds. Michael Woods had 11 points and Abdullah Kobaissi added nine points. Ben Chavez had six points and Chance Van Hook had five. Cameron Sweeten, Avi Rivera and Luke Johnson each had two points.