The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Boys’ basketball embraces road atmosphere with dramatic victory over Hillsdale

Alain+Kazarian+defends+an+inbound+pass+in+the+second+half+against+Hillsdale.+The+senior+guard+finished+with+31+points+and+three+steals.+
Zachary Newman
Alain Kazarian defends an inbound pass in the second half against Hillsdale. The senior guard finished with 31 points and three steals.

It looked like it was going to be a disappointing homecoming for head coach David Lopez midway through boys’ varsity basketball’s matchup against Hillsdale High School, with the team trailing by 14 in front of a spirited crowd. But the Panthers preserved, stealing the 52-51 victory on Friday, Jan. 19. 

Lopez spent five prior seasons as the assistant varsity coach at Hillsdale before coming to Burlingame. The Knights’ student section repeatedly chanted “Traitor” and “What’s up Lopez?” during the game. 

“We’ve played in a lot of big games this year with packed gyms, so I think that helped us a little bit tonight,” Lopez said. “Coming from behind for a big victory, we were making sure that we weren’t letting [the crowd] affect us. But also when things were going well, we were making sure that momentum was taking us to the next level from the crowd.”

Initially, the playful taunting seemed to be working. After a close first quarter, Hillsdale opened the second with a quick 6-0 run. The Panthers struggled to keep the Knights off the foul line. Multiple free throws helped Hillsdale close the second quarter on another 6-0 spurt to own a 31-23 advantage at halftime. 

The Knights began the second half strong, scoring another six consecutive points to give them a 14-point lead. With the raucous crowd getting louder, and their backs against the wall, Burlingame kept their composure and erased the deficit. Senior guard Alain Kazarian took over, sinking three triples in the span of a few minutes. 

“Biggest thing was hustle,” Lopez said. “We were getting out-hustled on the boards and we finally figured it out midway through the third quarter and then we got our offense going and we started hitting our shots because of it.”

Junior Pilot Eis looks to pass to a teammate in the first half of Burlingame’s non-league contest against the Knights.

The Panthers took advantage of their steals on defense, and excellent ball movement led to open shots. Sophomore Anthony Atkinson knocked in a three of his own to give Burlingame the 39-38 lead. 

Hillsdale capitalized on an offensive rebound to take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. But Kazarian continued to fuel Burlingame on both sides of the ball, forcing turnovers and finishing around the rim. 

The teams went back and forth, scoring buckets and exchanging the lead. But Burlingame found themselves up by one point with under 30 seconds left. After a few timeouts, the Knights had 4.4 seconds on the clock, trailing 52-51, with a chance to win the game and break the hearts of their rival — and former coach. 

Hillsdale inbounded the ball, and after two shot attempts in the paint defended by junior Luke Levitt bounced around the rim and fell out, the clock hit zero, ending the game and securing the win for the Panthers.

Immediately after the final buzzer sounded, Burlingame students from the stands ran onto the court to celebrate the win with players. 

“Everyone, every single one [stepped up],” Lopez said. “I could name every single person that went out on the floor and did something great for us. Everyone that got in there gave us something fantastic.”

Kazarian led all scorers with a career-high 31 points on 27 shots. He hit six of his 11 threes on the night and grabbed six rebounds, as well as three steals. Junior Marcus Tapia poured in eight points. Senior Darian Apke had five rebounds, and Atkinson collected four rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes. 

“Keep staying together, keep being a team and keep getting better together,” Lopez said. “So that’s what we’re gonna focus on. We gotta keep going. We’ve got to focus because everything counts for us.”

And they sure kept the momentum going, following up the Hillsdale victory with a 74-70 overtime win against Sequoia High School the next day. Kazarian continued his stellar play, scoring 28, and Tapia added 18 points on 55% shooting from beyond the arc. 

Burlingame will next play on Wednesday, Jan. 24 against Half Moon Bay High School, with hopes of a Central Coast Section run in the near future. 

“Staying together as a team,” Lopez said. “We showed spurts of us being a good team and then we sometimes got away from each other. When things got ugly, we told each other that we got each other.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Burlingame B
$560
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Burlingame High School - CA. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Zachary Newman, Sports Editor
Zachary Newman is a junior and second-year journalism student. He is excited to be the B's sports editor this year and continue to improve the sports coverage in the paper. Zachary spends the majority of his time outside of school on the golf course. He also likes to play with his dog and cheer on his favorite sports teams.
Donate to The Burlingame B
$560
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Burlingame B Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *