Burroughs girls basketball feels strength in team bond despite losing in CIF-SS quarterfinals – Daily News

BURBANK — Burroughs girls basketball coach Vicky Oganyan called at timeout with .3 seconds remaining on the clock in the CIF Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals.

“Just to tell them that I’m proud of their fight,” Oganyan said. “We always talk about fighting until the end. So I’m going to call a timeout to stop the clock and try to get another steal.”

Santa Margarita beat the Bears 47-33 on Wednesday night to advance to the semifinals.

Burroughs fought through the Eagles’ half-court press all night and relied on a unique bond created between the players.

Onganyan gets into every team conditioning session she can, running with her players and lifting weights alongside them. She’s also two seasons removed from finishing her own playing career with Glendale Community College at 40 years old.

“I feel like it strengthens our connection to our coach,” sophomore Valentina Morales said. “And it motivates us because if our coach can do it, we can do it as well.”

Morales and senior Ashley Martin each scored eight points for the Bears, who were the Pacific League runner-ups this season behind Crescenta Valley.

Santa Margarita deployed its half-court press early to make it difficult for Burroughs to find comfortable spots to shoot from. The Bears’ first field goal came with 2:34 remaining in the opening quarter on a putback by Morales.

“I thought we handled the pressure really well,” Oganyan said. “That was my number one concern. But we actually took care of the ball against that pressure.”

The Eagles answered Burroughs’ every offensive move with a basket for themselves and ended the first quarter with a 12-8 advantage.

The Bears opened the next quarter with a six-point scoring run to gain a lead that would change hands by the end of the frame. Burroughs created a play off a turnover and Martin took the ball in for a layup and an 18-4 lead.

“I think the girls were settling down a little bit,” Oganyan said. “We have a lot of young players that have never been in a quarterfinal before. We’ve been working on the press break the last two days, but we weren’t able to score in the half court.”

Santa Margarita had a lapse in defensive energy as it continued to press, but seized offensive opportunities. Sydnie Lendsey sank a 3-pointer with 1:14 until halftime and Burroughs’ Claire Hackney answered with a layup to make it 23-22 at the break.

Léa-line Romain briefly exited the game due to an apparent injury with 5:40 left the third quarter, but returned a minute later and made a layup that kept Santa Margarita’s offensive rhythm going. Bella Emanuel hit a corner 3 with 46 seconds to go to bring the score to 39-26.

Burroughs returns 11 of 13 players next season after the graduation of Martin and Mia Paz and will continue to cultivate the trust and respect built through not just playoff experience, but also the player-and-coach workouts.

“I’m very optimistic,” Morales said. “We’re gonna come back stronger than ever because our connection as a team is so great. Us growing in the spring is just going to make us so much better.”


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