Boys’ basketball falls short in quest for CCS three-peat


Danny Conway

Senior guard Zaden Martin consoles senior center Kyle Haslam after Burlingame lost the Division III CCS Championship game against Monterey High School on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Danny Conway, Staff Reporter

Following yet another winning season (21-5) with plenty of new faces in the lineup, boys’ varsity basketball fell short in its quest for a third consecutive Division III CCS title. No. 2 seed Burlingame lost to No. 4 seed Monterey High School 62-43 in an uncharacteristically flat performance on Saturday, Feb. 25. 

“We had way too many turnovers, it made us go down early and we just couldn’t get back in the game,” said senior center Kyle Haslam. 

The Panthers faced an uphill battle the entire game, trailing Monterey all 32 minutes. After being outscored 14-8 in the second quarter, Burlingame went into halftime down 11 points. 

The Panthers came into the second half with a bolt of energy and resilience, scoring 13 in the third quarter and executing a few defensive stops, but the Toreadors’ onslaught of three-point shots seemed impossible to stop.

“The deciding factor of the game ultimately was that they hit more shots than we did,” senior guard Zaden Marten said. “I think I personally could have taken better shots and helped create opportunities for others.”

Burlingame struggled especially from the three-point line, sinking only two shots from deep in their collective 22 attempts. Head coach Jeff Dowd stuck with his starters nearly the entire game. Burlingame’s bench only played a collective 19 minutes, while starting guard Kevin Chiu, for example, played 29 minutes.

Calling a runner-up finish a heartbreaker may seem dramatic. But, since its first CCS title in 2013, Burlingame’s basketball program has gotten used to winning — and this year’s roster fell just one win short of the title.

Despite the loss, the team seemed to agree that the season was a sucess. After losing last year’s star-studded senior class, it appeared unlikely that the Panthers would return to the CCS finals. 

“Everyone thought that we wouldn’t have the talent to get back to the big game and we proved that wrong, getting there again,” Haslam said. “Although we couldn’t pull it out this time it helped us out a lot with experience we can use later in life. I’m so proud of the team and how we handled everything and proved everyone wrong.”

Over the course of the season, Haslam, Martin and senior guard MJ Dowd stepped into leadership roles, transitioning together from role players to cornerstones of the team.

“Me, Kyle and Zaden have been playing with each other since elementary school,” MJ Dowd said. “We have a lot of chemistry and knew what we were capable of doing this year. We wanted to prove to everyone we could win.”

The season is not over, however — the Panthers will enter the CIF Division IV State tournament this week in an away game against Marysville High School on Tuesday, Feb. 28th. 

“We still have state playoffs, so playing confidently and staying together as a team is going to be a huge contribution to success,” Martin said. “Basketball is not played through 1, 2, or 3 guys, but rather the entire roster, and in our case…our roster killed it this year and hopefully can bring a state championship to Burlingame.”