First published in the Feb. 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The John Burroughs High School varsity boys’ basketball team was eliminated from CIF-SS Division 3A contention after losing to visiting Santa Barbara Bishop Diego, 58-50, in a second-round playoff game on Tuesday evening.
The loss had come just four days after the Bears stunned top-seeded La Cañada in the postseason opener.
Tuesday’s second-round was a competitive matchup between two fine teams, but Bishop Diego’s 7-2 scoring run in the fourth quarter wound up being the difference-maker.
Chase Walker kept the Bears in the fight by scoring the final two baskets of the first half to give Burroughs a slim 26-24 advantage. He finished by posting a double-double with 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
“Chase played hard and I thought he gave everything on the court,” JBHS head coach Allen Ellis said. “He rebounded the basketball well; unfortunately, we just didn’t score at a high enough level as a team.”
After a tough first half, junior Samuel Horning sank two key field goals in the third quarter that extended the Bears’ lead to 32-28. He scored nine of his 11 points in the second half and also had four rebounds.
Burroughs senior Jeilon Jackson, coming off a game-high 22 point performance again La Cañada, struggled to find his groove in the first half with only one field goal. However, he added a three-pointer in the fourth quarter before finishing 5-for-5 at the free-throw line to put him in double figures.
“Jeilon did the best he could, but he was just being keyed on from Bishop Diego,” Ellis said. “He’s a great player, his shots just didn’t go down and he’ll knock them down next time.”
Jagger Topp scored seven points, including two of the team’s three 3-pointers, while senior Desean Robinson registered four points and three boards. Junior TiJuan Lumpkin and Nick Schlander each collected three points while Jesse Pineda had two points.
“I am extremely proud of the guys and what we did in the first round; we just didn’t play our best game tonight,” Ellis said. “We had a great season. It was up and down, but I was proud of how the boys played this year.”
The Bears finished fifth in the Pacific League and ended the campaign with a 17-10 overall record.
BEARS 55, LA CAÑADA 45
Burroughs traveled to La Cañada for its CIF-SS Division 3A first-round opener and toppled the Rio Hondo League co-champion Spartans on Friday, Feb. 11.
“It feels fantastic,” Ellis said after defeating No. 1-seeded La Cañada. “I felt like we should have been ranked higher. We had some bad games throughout the year and let some things slip, but I know there is a lot of talent on this team. I am so proud of my guys and the way that they played.”
Jackson put on a clinic by posting a game-high 22 points and team-high five assists as the Bears stunned nine-time defending Rio Hondo League champion La Cañada. He capped a 9-3 scoring run to open the game and also drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the third quarter.
“Jeilon is a fantastic point guard and he played a great game,” Ellis said. “We were having a real hard time scoring in that first half, but we just had to keep shooting and playing through it. He ended up knocking down some big shots and controlled the tempo.”
While Jackson put up big offensive numbers, Lumpkin’s defense stifled the Spartans all night long. He registered four blocked shots, three steals, seven rebounds and nine points. Lumpkin was especially excellent against La Cañada senior David Garland, limiting the center to zero points and only five rebounds.
“I wanted to make sure TiJuan was engaged and ready to go,” Ellis said. “He did a fantastic job on La Cañada’s big man, controlled the glass, rebounded the basketball and he just stuck with it. He’s gotten so much better as a basketball player and he was fantastic tonight.”
Burroughs led most of the game and, after Jackson made it 27-26 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter, never fell behind again.
Overall, Burroughs worked the glass much better than La Cañada as the Bears logged 42 total rebounds to the Spartans’ 31.
Horning nearly posted a double-double with 10 points and eight boards, Walker collected seven points, nine rebounds and two steals, and Robinson had five points and five rebounds. Nick Schlander finished with two points.