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Canyon boys basketball: Clocked out

Posted: February 24, 2010 12:29 p.m.
Updated: February 24, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Canyon boys basketball has given new meaning to play all 32 minutes during its run through the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs.

Burbank head coach Jose Hernandez even warned his team of it prior to their matchup with the Cowboys at Canyon High on Tuesday.

Yet for the last 20 minutes in Tuesday’s game, Canyon lost everything — rhythm, a big lead and control — and eventually lost 65-59 in the quarterfinals.

“I told my coaches that they were the better team tonight. They finished,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “Once they got back in the game, it was players make plays.”

Canyon (20-9) led 26-12 after the game’s first 12 minutes, but a 13-0 Burbank run keyed the Bulldogs’ turnaround.

Credit Burbank senior guard Argin Gerigorian.

Gerigorian scored 19 points in the game, but it wasn’t just his scoring that turned things around.

His control of his team helped bring a runaway train back on to the track.

Burbank (23-7) turned the ball over 13 times in the first two quarters — just twice thereafter.

“My whole team, we were nervous coming up here because we played our first two playoff games at home,” Gerigorian said. “I had to step up.”

Canyon battled to gain back control of the game throughout, but couldn’t hold the Bulldogs back.

The Cowboys held a 32-27 lead at halftime, but Burbank overtook them in the third quarter and went into the final period with a 45-42 lead.

Canyon turned the ball over six times in the third quarter, compared to just four in the first half.

Cowboys Tere Adams and Wesley Bartole also struggled in the game.

Adams was aggressive, but was only 2-of-13 from the field.

Bartole, who came into the contest averaging 31.5 points per game through Canyon’s first two playoff games, managed nine points Tuesday night.

He was in foul trouble early.

Canyon just didn’t have the magic it displayed through its first two playoff games — an overtime buzzer-beater victory over Vista del Lago in the first round and a 20-point comeback win in the second round against Canyon of Anaheim.

The Cowboys took a 52-51 lead with 3:57 to play on a Darnel Haggerty jumper, but relinquished the lead immediately.

Burbank played the final minute and a half with a five-point cushion.

“I think just settling down and understanding what we do best,” Hernandez said was the key to Burbank’s turnaround. “Giving it to our guy — Argin. Letting him make plays.”

Canyon was led by Coley Apsay with 18 points.

Brian Nnaoji added 12.

Burbank made 18-of-22 shots from the free-throw line.

The Cowboys were definitely not outmatched in this one.

They could have went to their third-ever semifinal.

Yet they accomplished a lot this season, Phillips said.

“They catapulted my love of the game,” he said. “This group went beyond expectations. They set a great standard for what Canyon basketball’s going to be, and it’s something I want to be part of”


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