Tag Archives: Chance Spinks

Burbank, Burroughs Boys Hoops Set Sights High

By Rick Assad

The task is a tall one, no doubt, but the Burbank High and Burroughs boys’ basketball teams are each gunning for the top spot when it comes to the Pacific League standings, hoping to unseat Pasadena.

The Bulldogs are athletic with dependable shooters and defenders and will be led Sid Cooke, who has an impressive and deep resume, having coached Renaissance Academy to a pair of CIF Southern Section championships across 16 years.

“We’re trying to build a culture. Commitment and accountability. Do the right thing every time,” said Cooke, a first-year coach at Burbank, who was also an assistant coach at Glendale Community College for three years. “They do play hard, but they’ve got to play different as far as the understanding of the game.”

You can never practice enough as Burroughs goes through some drills. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank played well last season after going 17-12 and 8-6 in league for fourth place.

The Bulldogs fell to La Canada 57-43 in the opening-round of the CIF Division II A playoffs.

Burbank will not have shooting guard Miles D’Agostin, who averaged just over 26 points and was selected All-CIF second team, because of graduation.

Cooke is a tough taskmaster who demands perfection on the court, but knows how to motivate.

Four players were on last year’s squad and they will be asked to lead Burbank on the floor.

Kevin Sarkes is a 6-foot-5 senior center who will rebound, play solid defense and shoot in the paint.

“We have a good group of guys,” he said. “We hope to capture the first league title in a long time, it’s been about 20 years. And then heading to CIF, we’ve been knocked out two years in the first round. Our goal is to capture the first CIF title.”

Senior Ben Burnham (6-0) is a standout wide receiver on the football team and will offer grit, points, hard-nose defense and rebounds from the point guard position.

“Transitioning from football to basketball is not that hard. I’m not in basketball shape,” he said. “We’re looking to do some damage in league. We’re focusing on getting better every week.”

Junior small forward Abiel Pearl (No. 25) will be a key player for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Senior shooting guard Leo Tahmasian (6-0) is a clutch long-range artist who can score points in a hurry.

“Three coaches in three years. Yes, it’s not easy, but when you have a great coaching staff it’s pretty easy to adjust,” he said. “They have a system in place.”

Sarkes then added: “Coach Sid has won multiple championships at different levels,” he said. “His resume speaks for itself. He’s a great coach. We have a great group of guys. I’m very confident in what we can do this year whether it’s in league or CIF. We’ve got a good core and a good group of guys to build around.”

Junior shooting guard/small forward Abiel Pearl (6-3) is athletic and a leaper who has a soft touch in the paint, is a ball hawk on defense and a splendid rebounder.

There are four other seniors on the team and they include shooting guard Gor Keshishyan (6-2), shooting guard Danny Contreras (5-7), shooting guard A.J. Blake (5-10), small forward/power forward Craig Rushton (6-2) and center Greg Zadikian (6-5).

Up and in the basket. The Indians hope to see more of this during the season. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The juniors include point guard Vartan Avetisyan (5-9), shooting guard Elmer Reyes (5-10), small forward Kelton Shea (6-3) and shooting guard Armen Nazarian (6-3).

Three sophomores are on the team and they are small forward J.G. Lambert (6-3), point guard/shooting guard Phoenix Mosley (5-9) and shooting guard Nigel Dickens (6-1).

The Indians are deep in talent this season and hope to forget last season in which they went 11-16 and 4-10 in league for sixth place while missing the postseason.

Four players return and they include senior swingman Emery Goulet, senior point guard Nicholas Garcia, senior shooting guard Carson Cardenaz and reserve forward Tyler Cantrell.

Goulet is a first-team all-league selection, team captain and one of the floor leaders.

Garcia, who was the quarterback for the Indians, will distribute the basketball and look for his shot when it’s available.

Senior guard Leo Tahmasian (No. 23) should have a solid season for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cardenaz played wide receiver and always showed his toughness on the field.

“We are bigger and stronger physically than last year’s team,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “I think last year’s experience for our starting guards will help us a lot on and off the court for our younger players.”

Ellis knows it’s not going to be easy to capture the league title, but likes what he’s seen.

“We know we are in a tough league, but the majority of these players have been a part of my program for four years,” he said. “We look forward to the challenge and the guys are hungry to show what they are capable of on the basketball court.”

The rest of the backcourt will consist of shooting guard Jase Sadsad, shooting guard Blake Ballard, shooting guard Elijah Duller, shooting guard Evan Zamora and point guard Coleman Chennault.

The frontcourt will be comprised of Jack Nitzsche, Chance Spinks and Corwin Smith, who is 6-6, and will play center.

Burroughs Football Ready to Get Down to Business

Missing the CIF Southern Section playoffs the last two seasons was tough on the Burroughs High football program after the Indians had been a regular playoff participant over much of the past decade.
First-year coach Rand Holdren realizes turning things around won’t be easy, but he feels the only direction his team is headed is up.

Holdren, who takes over for Mike Reily, is an offensive-minded coach who has most recently worked at Alemany High in Mission Hills after a stint at Harvard-Westlake in North Hollywood.

Former Burroughs Head Coach and current Defensive Coordinator Keith Knoop (left) with current Head Coach Rand Holdren. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

“The guys were a little beaten down after last year. I want to get them all going in the same direction. That’s been our goal and mindset since day one,” Holdren said. ” We’re going to need all hands on deck. We don’t have any of the five star or four-star players or all that fancy stuff. We’re a group of guys that work together and that’s how we’re going to win ballgames.

Holdren will benefit from having longtime head coach Keith Knoop on his staff as his defensive coordinator.The Indians open the season Aug. 23 on the road against West Ranch of Stevenson Ranch.
Burroughs, which has 14 seniors, returns starting quarterback Nathan Piper (6-1, 170), who Holdren said had a good summer. Junior Nick Garcia (5-9, 170) also impressed Holdren and could see some time at quarterback.

Nathan Piper returns as the Indians’ quaterback. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Junior David Garza (5-8, 150) and sophomore Luke Rogers (5-6, 145) have impressed as ball carriers.
Seniors Johnny Factora (5-11, 155) and Andrew English (5-9, 195) and junior Alex Perez (5-10, 145) look to be passing targets for Piper.
The offensive line is young, but appears to have a lot of potential.
Senior Ferdy Hernandez (6-2, 250) is the veteran of the group. Junior Donovan Reyes (6-4, 205) will certainly offer trouble to opposing teams due to his size. The Indians also have junior Oscar Pette (6-3, 280), junior Allen Arriaga (6-2, 240), junior Eric Quintero (6-1, 220) and sophomore Austin Sowers (6-3, 240).
The Burroughs defensive line will feature many of the same players that play on the offensive line.

Daniel Foxx figures to be a leader for Burroughs on defense. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Senior Daniel Foxx (5-10, 190), junior Henry Diaz Jr. (6-0, 200) and senior Alex Deptula (6-0, 170) have all looked solid as linebackers according to Holdren.
The defensive secondary figures to feature many of the players the Indians use offensively in the backfield and as receivers.

Juniors Ozzy Perez (5-10, 150), Ellington Simmons (6-3, 180), Aiden Forrester (5-10, 168), Chance Spinks (6-0, 150)  all could see a role in the secondary. With a young team, Holdren is setting realistic goals for his team.
“For us it is to reach our full potential,” he said.