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 blows out Prospect in CCS playoffs

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Zachary Newman
Ryan Dougherty looks to pass to a teammate from the corner. The senior forward helped keep the Panthers’ season alive, dropping in 10 points against Prospect.

Boys’ varsity basketball (10-14) has a Central Coast Section (CCS) reputation to uphold. For the past three years, they’ve made consecutive trips to the Division III championship game, and this year’s team may be on its way to a title of its own. The squad certainly got their playoff run started on the right note with a resounding 70-46 victory against Prospect High School on Saturday, Feb. 17. 

Despite a roster with limited playoff experience, the Panthers dominated right from the opening tip, jumping out to a 15-4 lead after the first quarter. Junior guard Marcus Tapia was explosive offensively in the first half, draining four of his game-high five three-pointers before halftime, finishing with 15 points on the night. 

Coming out for the second half up 25-14, Burlingame continued to gain separation. Strong full-court defense from sophomore Anthony Atkinson and senior Ryan Dougherty led to steals and extra offensive possessions — and the Panthers took advantage, scoring 27 points in the third quarter. Dougherty hit a few big shots in the paint to help extend the lead. 

A bit of luck was on their side, too. When junior Pilot Eis’ three bounced off the side of the backboard and dropped in — much to his own surprise — it was clear nothing would get in Burlingame’s way that night. 

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  • Senior Alain Kazarian dribbles away from his defender looking to score a basket in the second half of Burlingame’s quarterfinal matchup against Prospect. The senior guard finished with 23 points, including three triples on the night.

  • Senior Ryan Dougherty drives to the bucket against a Prospect defender on Saturday, Feb. 17.

But Prospect was able to cut the lead to 14 with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter, and seniors Darien Apke and Alain Kazarian took matters into their own hands. Two layups from Apke led to five points, and Kazarian nailed a right-wing three with the shot clock winding down to blow the game open 52-30 heading into the final frame. 

Kazarian put the game away, hitting two more threes and driving to the basket to seal the victory. He led all scorers with 23 points. 

Head coach David Lopez believes that despite the squad’s underwhelming regular season record (1-9 in the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division), the competitive league slate worked in the Panthers’ favor come the playoffs. 

“I think our tough league season, playing in the top division of PAL got us ready,” Lopez said. “We’ve played intense games against great competition, so we were prepared to play in the playoffs.”

Kazarian credited team chemistry for Burlingame’s ability to play their best with their season on the line.

“We have a strong, tight community that has each other’s backs,” Kazarian said. “Coach Lopez has been instilling the importance of having a strong community. Everyone just supports each other and wants to see each other win. And that’s the best part.”

But the win against Prospect was only the first step towards Burlingame’s ultimate goal. With the blowout win in the second round, the No. 7-seed Panthers advanced to the Division III quarterfinals to matchup against Aptos High School (18-8) on Tuesday, Feb. 20. 

“[We] need to continue to grow together and focus on keeping things simple, making sure our attention is where it needs to be to win,” Lopez said. 

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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.
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