Tag Archives: Burbank boys basketball

Pasadena Boys Basketball Too Tough for Burbank

With the CIF Southern Section playoffs, just two weeks away the Burbank High boys’ basketball team got to experience a playoff-like scenario Monday when visiting Pasadena High visited in a Pacific League contest.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Facing a full-court press and an opponent that moves the ball very quickly, Burbank fell 84-51.

“Games like this is why we’ve been successful in the playoffs,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said. “Playing teams like this helps us. Our league helps us for the playoffs. Pasadena is probably better than any team we’re going to face in the playoffs.”

When Burbank (15-8, 5-5) was able to break Pasadena’s press in the first half, junior Erik Harutyunyan was the player who got the ball in the open court.

He scored 17 of Burbank’s 26 first-half points.

“When you play an athletic team like this you have to take care of every possession and take care of the ball as much as you can,” Harutyunyan said. “You have to hit your open shots. That’s the formula you need to beat a great team like this.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On the defensive end, Harutyunyan had the task of trying to guard Pasadena’s Bryce Hamilton, who is one of the top players in the nation. Hamilton has signed with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Obviously he’s a very tough player. I wish him all the best. It was very cool to compete against him,” Harutyunyan said. “We played as hard as we could and that’s all you can ask for.”

Hamilton, who finished with 20 points, played sparingly in the third quarter and did not play at all for the fourth quarter. He said his team (16-6, 9-1) benefitted from overcoming a loss in the league opener to Crescenta Valley.

“That game made us come out hungrier and not to take any team lightly,” Hamilton said.

Burbank trailed 24-11 at the end of the first quarter and 44-26 at halftime. Pasadena went on to lead 71-39 going into the fourth quarter.

Burbank got seven points from Jared Pasion, and five each from Xavier Davis, Justin De Sales and Sevak Mkrtchyan.

Chance Van Hook and Angel Ibarra each had four points.  Tyrese Willis and Jalen Clark each had two points.

Burbank Boys Basketball Gets Upper Hand on Burroughs

The old saying is if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

That is what happened to the Burbank High boys’ basketball team Friday night when the Bulldogs faced rival Burroughs in a Pacific League contest.

Burbank came out in a zone defense that bothered the Indians in the Bulldogs’ 61-46 home win.

“We haven’t been running it a lot this year. It has been game by game,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said. “We kind of figured they probably thought we’d come out in man and throw a loop at them. We actually weren’t supposed to stay in it the entire game, but it was working.”

Burbank (13-7, 3-4 in the league)  jumped out to an early lead and was never seriously threatened by Burroughs (11-8, 2-5).

The Bulldogs led 16-6 at the end of the first quarter and led 30-19 at halftime.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Things didn’t get any easier for Burroughs in the second half, as the Bulldogs went up 47-30 going into the final quarter.

“The zone bothered us a lot. We didn’t react well to it,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “We had some good looks, we just didn’t shoot the ball well. We’re a streaky team from the three-point line. As long as a team is not making shots, a team is going to stay in the zone.  That was a smart thing for them to do.”

Burroughs played without star guard Stefon Foster, who has battled a number of leg and knee injuries.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“We’ve been sitting him out,” Ellis said. “Obviously he’s a big piece of the team and a leader. Hopefully, we can have him back for the second half of league.”

Burbank was led by Tyrese Willis, who had 15 points. Xavier Davis had 14 points. Chance Van Hook had 13 points and Erik Harutyunyan had nine. Jalen Clark and Justin DeSales each had four points and Sevak Mkrtchyan had two points.

Burroughs was led by Omar Searcy, who had 13 points. Carson Clarke had 11 points and Amir Montgomery had 10 points. Bryan Oasay had five points, Quinton Roberts had four and Zion Bazzell had three points.

Burbank Boys Basketball Outhustled by Glendale

It took the Burbank High boys’ basketball team a long time to get into the rhythm it is accustomed to on Friday night when the Bulldogs visited Glendale High.

Burbank’s slump lasted so long that it was unable to dig itself out of a big hole in a 65-57 Pacific League defeat.

“I thought Glendale outworked us on the defensive glass and got a lot of second-chance opportunities. Glendale played harder than us for I’d say 28 minutes of the game,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said.

Burbank (11-4 overall, 1-1 in league) suddenly came to life following a Glendale timeout with 3:44 left and the Nitros holding a 54-40 lead.

The Bulldogs went on a quick 10-2 run and had a legitimate chance at getting back into the game being down just 56-50 with 2:21 to play after a three-pointer from Chance Van Hook.

“We were desperate and desperate teams are dangerous. They came back,” Potts said of his team. “We’re never going to go away. It’s good to know the fight is with this group.”

Burbank scored just eight points in the first quarter and just 19 in the first half.

“In the first half we struggled offensively. One of the reasons for that is because Tyrese (Willis) went out because of foul trouble,” Potts said. “All the credit to Glendale. They played hard and deserved to win this game.”

Burbank trailed 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and 26-17 at halftime. Glendale led 41-32 going into the final period.

Willis scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half.

Van Hook finished with 12 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs got 11 points each from Erik Harutyunyan and Sevak Mkrtchyan.

Angel Ibarra had four points and Jalen Clark had two points for Burbank.

Glendale (13-2, 1-1) was led by David Shamiryan and Eli Degrate. Both finished with 14 points.


Looking Back at 2017 in Sports

A year after arguably the most successful year local sports teams have ever had, 2017 turned out to be almost equally as strong. A number of athletes and teams achieved many things to be proud. This is a review of the top 10 teams of 2017 from Burbank and Burroughs highs.

  1. Burbank Boys Basketball

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs may have not won a Pacific League title, but their postseason run was nothing short of amazing. Burbank finished with a 25-10 record and came as close to winning as a CIF title as one could have, losing only by one point on an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer against Brentwood. In its playoff run, the Bulldogs defeated teams few gave them a chance of winning. Burbank defeated  La Sierra of Riverside, followed by second seeded Crean Lutheran and then Rancho Mirage, whose shortest starter was as tall as Burbank’s tallest. The Bulldogs also rallied from a 13-point deficit against Rancho Mirage. Michael Woods was the leader of the group of seniors who had played together for several years, ultimately resulting in arguably the best season in school history.

  1. Burbank Football

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A year after getting to the CIF championship game, Burbank was hit hard by losses to graduation. But the Bulldogs still had a small core that knew what it was like to win. This team, unlike the team a year ago, went on to win the Pacific League title under first-year coach Adam Colman. Burbank also knocked off top-seeded  South Hills during its playoff run before falling to Don Lugo in the CIF semifinals.  The Bulldogs have a lot of talent coming back for next season, so this team has lots to look forward to in 2018.


  1. Burroughs Boys Soccer

Photo courtesy Christina Quintero

The Indians put together a stellar season as longtime head coach Mike Kodama earned his 10th league title. Burroughs went 19-5-4 overall and 11-2-1 in league. The Indians won a pair of CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoff matches, including one on the road and in the rain against Paso Robles. Eventually Burroughs’ run was stopped by a fine Salesian side.


  1. Burroughs Boys Volleyball

The Indians continued their streak of eight consecutive Pacific League titles by finishing 16-13 overall and

10-0 in league. While the record may not look impressive, Burroughs was playing against the toughest competition out there, playing in Division 1 in the CIF playoffs. The Indians outlasted Newbury Park in the first round of the playoffs, before falling to national power Huntington Beach in the second round.

  1. Burbank Girls Tennis

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The Bulldogs finished 11-5 overall and third in the tough and deep Pacific League and had to win a wild card match just to make it into the main draw. They did that and went on to win two more CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoff matches before falling to top seeded Northwood of Irvine in the quarterfinals.

  1. Burroughs Girls Volleyball

Led by University of Washington bound outside hitter Marin Grote, the Indians went 28-7 and captured the Pacific League title. Burroughs advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs before losing to Westridge of Pasadena.


  1. Burroughs Boys Water Polo

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians went 15-9 and fought off Hoover to win the Pacific League title. A year after winning a CIF title, Burroughs moved up to Division 3, where it advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Dos Pueblos of Goleta.

  1. Burroughs Softball

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians were not as sharp as they have been in the past. Still they were able to earn a share of the Pacific League title, going 19-9 overall and 12-2 in league. Playing in Division 1, the Indians were not so fortunate in the playoffs, losing to Oaks Christian in the first round.

  1. Burroughs Boys Cross Country

Alexander Hirsch of Burroughs

This very talented veteran group actually struggled for much of the season, but came on strong in Pacific League Finals to top a fine Arcadia squad for second place on the Apaches’ home course. Arcadia had defeated Burroughs in the first two league meets. Jagdeep Chahal also took home honors as the league’s individual champion.

  1. Burbank Girls Cross Country

Shalom Mejia of Burbank

The Bulldogs went neck and neck with Burroughs all season, with Burbank taking the first league meet by a large margin. Burroughs bounced back and beat Burbank narrowly twice. But the Bulldogs make the cut here due to its qualification for CIF Finals, where Burbank finished 20th in Division 1.  It was just the third time in program history that the lady Bulldogs qualified for CIF Finals.


Burbank, Burroughs Boys Basketball Begin New Chapter

It was just a year ago that Burbank High had one of its greatest seasons in school history that nearly resulted in a CIF Southern Section championship. Burroughs featured a team that was built completely around multi-talented star Tristen Hull. Things have changed for both teams entering the 2017-18 season.


The Bulldogs lost nearly everyone that played last season, led by Michael Woods, who is now at UC Merced.

While there are several returning varsity players, junior point guard Tyrese Willis was the only one who received regular playing time.

Willis has grown to 5-foot-7 and should be the team leader.

“Last year was last year. It was a different group,” Burbank coach Jamayne Potts said of the team that went 25-10. “This group has to go through the same things that the last group went through, which was they go through reps, they go through success, they learn how to win games. They go through failure and those things help you prepare to get towards CIF. We’re literally going one step at a time.”

Burbank will have just one senior on the team as Sevak Mkrtchyan (5-11) moves up from the junior varsity.

The Bulldogs have benefited by the addition of juniors Justin De Sales (6-2) and Jalen Clark (6-3), both of which transferred from Village Christian.

Coach Jamayne Potts is very optimistic about junior Xavier Davis (5-9).

Five more juniors return from last season including football stars Duncan Smith (6-4) and Erik Harutyunyan (6-1). Chance Van Hook (6-2), Luke Johnson (5-10) and Jared Pasion (5-9) also return.

Junior Angel Ibarra (6-2) and sophomores Ben Burnham (5-9) and Leo Tahmasian (6-0) move up from within the program.


As hard as it was to lose Hull, the Indians will be a more balanced team this season after going 13-14 a year ago. Hull is now playing at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

“It’s a different team obviously. We lost Tristen (Hull) so we don’t have a big guy anymore. We lost eight seniors so a lot of young guys need to take that leadership over,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “I like the team. We’re more of a guard-oriented team. We push the ball and we’re scoring at a high pace. We need to focus on defensive intensity and making sure we get stops.”

Burroughs returns senior Stefon Foster (6-2), who was the starting point guard last season when he was healthy. Senior Omar Searcy (6-0) and junior Zion Bazzell (6-1) will see key roles as wings. Senior Carson Clark (6-2) is expected to see time at power forward.

The Indians have added Amir Montgomery (6-3), a transfer from Bonita High in LaVerne. He will be the Indians’ big man. Coach Allen Ellis is also high on freshman Frank Waldeck (6-2) who recently moved to Burbank from North Carolina.

Juniors Bryan Oasay (5-10), Sammy Solis (5-10) and sophomores Quinton Roberts (6-1) and Emery Goulet (6-1) will add depth for the Indians.



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 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.