BURBANK — Peter Wongsasitorn found himself in a comfortable spot on the court in a tight game — the free-throw line.
It’s there where the Burbank High boys’ basketball player thrived in the closing moments against Hoover on Wednesday night.
“I had to go in there and make them.”
Burbank improved to 11-8, 3-3 in league and Hoover dropped to 9-9, 1-5.
Wongsasitorn made a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 59-55 lead. After Hoover’s Ryan Barseghian made two free throws to cut the deficit to 59-57 with 16 seconds to play, Wongsasitorn then made two more free throws to make it 61-57 with 15 seconds left.
“Pete’s our best free-throw shooter,” said Burbank first-year Coach Jerry DeLaurie, who got 11 points apiece from Wongsasitorn and Sarkis Karian and 10 points and nine rebounds from Andy Yanikyan. “He’s been huge for us all year and that’s the guy you want there in a close game.
“Any time you play Burbank, it’s going to be a wild game. These have been typical games for us. We are making progress. We just don’t know how to finish at times, but they are starting to get into a flow.”
Hoover held a 43-39 lead entering the fourth quarter. Burbank then began the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by Wongsasitorn that gave the Bulldogs a 50-43 lead with 4:19 left. Wongsasitorn had eight second-half points.
Hoover, which lost its second game in a row following a league win against Arcadia on Friday, ended Burbank’s surge when Jash Francisco made a three-pointer to bring the Tornadoes to within 50-46 with 3:10 remaining. Francisco finished with a game-high 17 points.
“There were some critical points in the game where we didn’t get a couple of breaks,” said Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten, who received 10 points each from Teo Davidian and Arvin Atakhanian. “We missed some easy shots and that can come back to haunt you.
“The game went back and forth, but Burbank made a few more big plays. We had some opportunities and they stopped us.”
Hoover took a 43-35 lead on a basket by Davidian with 2:31 left in the third quarter. It was the Tornadoes’ biggest lead.
Burbank’s Adam Pasco made a jump shot as time expired in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 31-29 halftime advantage. Pasco’s shot came after Hoover knotted it at 29 on a three-pointer by Francisco with 1:10 to play.
The teams will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Hoover.
Hoover and Burbank will participate in league road games against their cross-town rivals at 7 p.m. Friday. Hoover will take on Glendale and Burbank will meet Burroughs.