BURBANK — The Burroughs High girls' basketball team entered its Friday cross-town rivalry game with Burbank riding a seven-game winning streak. In addition, the team had also won its first six Pacific League contests of the campaign.
Despite the recent success, Indians Coach Vicky Oganyan was uneasy prior to the contest.
"It's the rivalry; you just never know," she said.
The coach had reason to be apprehensive. The Bulldogs battled and, despite felling behind early after a horrendous first quarter in which they scored just two points, took the lead in the fourth quarter.
But Burroughs was able to surge back in front and hold off a late Bulldogs push to walk away with a 36-35 victory at Burbank.
"We did everything that we needed to do to win, except for maybe the last minute and a half," Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden said. "A couple of offensive rebounds in the lane, a turnover and trying to do too much on the other end. It came down to those last three possessions, that's how close we were to winning the game."
The win was more important to Burroughs (16-6, 7-0 in league) — ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division I-A — than just a rivalry triumph over Burbank (12-9, 4-3). The victory keeps the Indians by themselves at the top of the Pacific League standings, one game ahead of Crescenta Valley (6-1 in league), which defeated Arcadia (5-2 in league), 49-42, on Friday.
The Bulldogs received a big game from junior Yazzy Sa'Dullah, who poured in a game-high 18 points to go along with six steals.
The junior also hit a big three-pointer with six seconds remaining in the game to get the Bulldogs to within one point.
"In a game like this, when both teams have talented players, it's really anybody's game," Oganyan said. "They have some good players and [Sa'Dullah] is just an awesome player. So, when there's not a major talent difference, it's usually not going to be a blowout either way."
The game came down to some crucial plays late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took a 28-27 advantage with 5:44 remaining in the game and maintained the lead until senior Paula Galicia made a layup and was fouled with 1:05 left to knot the score at 32. Although Galicia missed the free throw, teammate Sienna Brown swooped in, grabbed the rebound and scored under the basket to give the Indians a 34-32 lead.
"That's why we have Sienna in there, she's just a very good rebounder," Oganyan said. "She did a great job on that play."
Brown had six rebounds, five on the offensive boards.
On the ensuing possession, Burbank was called for traveling. Having to foul, the Bulldogs sent Burroughs senior Jakarra Waddell to the line with 19 seconds remaining. The senior calmly sank both shots, giving Burroughs a comfortable 36-32 cushion. However, Burbank hurried the ball up the court and put it in the hands of Sa'Dullah, who promptly drained a three-pointer from the right corner with sex seconds remaining.
Having to foul again, Burbank saw Burroughs miss the front end of a one and one. Burbank had one last desperation shot from beyond half court, but the shot missed its mark.
Burbank had to battle back from a bad first quarter that saw it outscored, 11-2. The Bulldogs converted just one of 10 shots from the field in the stanza.
The Bulldogs were able to play better in the second quarter, outscoring the Indians, 17-9, and going into halftime trailing by one, 20-19. Burroughs was up by two after three quarters, 27-25.
Galicia and junior Davina Del Castillo (11 rebounds) both had eight points.