PASADENA — Before his team’s championship game in the Pasadena Polytechnic Tournament, Amaad Wainright reminded his teammates of the task at hand as they prepared to hit the hardwood to take on Holy Martyrs on Saturday night.
“It started in the locker room,” Wainright said. “I gave the team a motivation speech and told the guys, ‘Let’s get out there and win the championship, bring it back to Burroughs.’”
Wainright, a transfer coming into the season, did his part in guiding the team to a title-clinching 81-53 victory. The senior backed up his leadership in the locker room with a fine performance, leading the team with 25 points. He was also named tournament MVP.
The win is the sixth consecutive for Adam Hochberg’s Indians, who will next play in the Chaminade Christmas Classic to close out the year.
“Overall, the matchups were in our favor,” Hochberg said after the win over the Armens. “We’re pretty confident that with our two main guys [Wainright and Rashid Ewing], we’re going to have favorable matchups most nights.
“I knew that if we gave proper effort, we would have a chance at winning this tournament. We’re just trying to get better for league, every step of the way.”
Burroughs (6-2) trailed early in the contest with Holy Martyrs, but it wouldn’t be long before they started executing the game plan and controlling the tempo to Holy Martyr’s ultimate undoing.
“They came out with a 1-3-1 defense and we were settling early,” Hochberg said. “Once we made them play our pace, we were able to get out in transition. Our game plan took over and if we execute our game plan, then we’re going to be successful most nights.”
The Indians received 16 points from Ewing, their other highly-praised transfer from Kansas City, Mo. The senior forward garnered all-tournament honors. Ewing scored five points in the fourth quarter — one in which the Indians led 65-43 going into it.
Wainright and Ewing have sparked excitement for the Burroughs ballclub and have the Indians eyeing a Pacific League championship.
“We’re working as a team well,” Ewing said. “We’re doing a good job rebounding and making the right passes. We want to play at a different tempo than the opponent. If they’re playing slow, we play fast. If they’re playing fast, then we play slow.
“We want to keep the ball on our side and not commit turnovers.”
When asked about the team’s confidence level, Wainright spoke positively.
“We’re going to continue to approach every game like it’s for a championship,” he said.