GLENDALE — With just three Pacific League wins between them, the Hoover High and Burroughs basketball teams came into Tuesday's matchup against one another with hopes of qualifying for the playoffs waning.
In the first game of the second half of the league campaign, the Tornadoes and Indians were hoping for a boost that might propel them in the right direction toward the postseason.
Hoover looked like the team that wanted that most, as it shot well in the early going, jumped out to a significant lead and walked away with a 69-45 victory against the visiting Indians.
The win was just the second in league this season for the Tornadoes (10-10, 2-6 in league), lifting them into a two-way tie for sixth in league with Burroughs (12-8, 2-6).
"Our league is pretty tough at the top," Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said. "When you look at it, Muir, Pasadena and [Crescenta Valley] are the top teams in our league and they're pretty much up there. But the rest of the teams, if each team plays their game they can beat any other team."
For Burroughs Coach Adam Hochberg, to say he was disappointed with his squad's performance would be an understatement.
"We weren't the hungrier team tonight, and it showed," he said. "They were hungrier. We just have to find our mental focus. Until we're able to find that mental focus, the season is going to continue to go the way that it's been going."
It was apparent early in the game that the Tornadoes came out ready to play. Unfortunately for Burroughs, shooting problems in the first quarter also led to success by Hoover.
The Indians converted just three of 13 shots in the opening stanza, while the Tornadoes came out by scoring six of the game's first eight baskets. When Francis Roncal sank a long three-pointer at the buzzer, the Tornadoes ended the first quarter with a 21-10 lead.
"The kids made a concerted effort to start the game better than maybe some games we have in league," Van Patten said. "They really came out and shot well in that first half."
Hoover had a balanced scoring attack, with 12 points coming from Teo Davidian and 10 each from Roncal, Josh Francisco and Arvin Atakhanian.
The Tornadoes kept up the pressure up in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 38-22 at the half.
Burroughs had no response for the Tornadoes in the second half, as Hoover pushed its advantage to 24 points.
However, in the fourth, the Indians began to show some life. Burroughs whittled the lead down to 13, 56-43, following two free throws by Kalen Verhoeven (11 points) with 5:18 remaining. But Hoover stopped the push and took control of the game back.
"We knew how important this game was for us," Atakhanian said. "When we work as a team we can win games. We want to make it to CIF so we know we have to start winning."