BURBANK — Before his team's game against Muir on Monday, Burbank boys' basketball Coach Jerry DeLaurie rattled off the list of names of the players he expected to lead the way.
They were all seniors.
In fact, it was a trio of underclassmen that almost guided the Bulldogs to an improbable victory, but came up just short, as Muir defeated host Burbank, 80-78, in a five-overtime Pacific League thriller.
"Our freshmen did a hell of a job," DeLaurie said after the marathon game that lasted nearly three hours and included 20 minutes of additional playing time. "We're going to be hard to beat in a couple of years. We had a lot of young guys who stepped up tonight. That's why they're playing varsity."
Freshman Mike Woods contributed 19 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Ellie Hanno added 14 points and four rebounds and freshman Ben Chavez had 11 points.
The Bulldogs (7-8, 1-2 Pacific League) had to lean on the young guns because three senior starters fouled out and a fourth senior starter, Richard Elmoyan, left with an injury in the third period.
However, the young guys almost pulled out the victory.
With 16 seconds left in regulation, Woods found Hanno open for a three-pointer to tie the game at 57 and force overtime. Seemingly always playing from behind, it was Woods who tied the game at 61 to force a second overtime; Chavez who hit a bucket with 20 seconds left to knot the game at 65 late in the second overtime; and later it was Chavez again tying the game at 74 to force a fifth overtime.
In the decisive frame and tied 78-78, Muir's Harris-Austin Desmond hit a layup as time expired to win the game 80-78.
"We're losing way too many close games," DeLaurie said. "I think our preparation needs to be better. Our preparation has to be a little more focused."
Before the game, DeLaurie stressed the importance of hitting foul shots, but the Bulldogs went six for 12 from the line in the overtime periods and 20 for 36 for the contest.
Woods attributed the loss to dumb mistakes, but had a message.
"I'm tired, but I really wanted to get that win," Woods said. "I want the win. Every game after this, I told the seniors, we're not going to lose any more games."
Anthony Kardosh added 10 points and 16 rebounds for Burbank and teammate Cody Bosman added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Dejon Williams and Arinze Anakwenze each had 18 points for Muir. Anakwenze added 12 rebounds.