By Riley Segal
Photos by Thomas Forman
The girls’ basketball team gained a narrow 45-43 victory over Burroughs High School on Saturday, February 20 in the second round of CIF. Although the game was scheduled to be at home, the Tigers played the Burros at Blair due to the weekly Bingo gatherings in the SPHS gym. The Burros tied for second place in the Mojave River League with a league record of 7-3. The Tigers’ comeback win puts their overall record at 16-6.
The Burros immediately came out strong in the first quarter, going on an 11-0 run before junior Jade Lin scored a three in the final minute to put South Pas on the board. Burroughs played very physically with a slight height advantage over the Tigers. South Pasadena’s shots weren’t falling throughout the quarter, and Burroughs was able to get a majority of the rebounds as the Tigers had trouble boxing out. The Burros had another layup to lead by a wide margin of ten points at 13-3 before the first quarter ended.
The Tigers slowly gained more points to close the gap. Burroughs continued to hold the lead, but South Pas gradually began to adjust to the Burros’ playing style, garnering 15 points. In addition to Lin, senior Kristen Kafkaloff and juniors Jalynne Li and Juliana Tom also scored baskets to eventually reduce the deficit to four points. A last-second attempted shot from the Tigers went awry, and the first half ended at 18-22.
Burroughs opened the second half with a basket, but the Tigers, determined to jump in front, quickly retaliated with a layup off of a steal from Kafkaloff. Kafkaloff made a free throw soon after, and a Li layup put the Tigers one point away from tying the game. Less than a minute later, sophomore Tiffany Holmes was able to put the Tigers ahead 25-24 with a key basket. South Pas held the Burros to one more basket in the third quarter, and earned eight more points to officially claim the advantage at 33-26 heading into crunch time.
The Burros earned the first point of the fourth quarter off of a free throw, and followed with a basket. Lin soon after knocked down one of her own before Tom sank a three. While the Tigers managed to stay in the lead, Burroughs gained momentum, gradually narrowing the gap in points. The Burros eventually brought the score to 44-43 before Li was fouled in the last 11 seconds of the game. Despite the high pressure, Li was able to make one of her free throws before the time ran out. However, the referees determined there was a Tiger travel as South Pas attempted to run out the clock. One second was put back on the board, and freshman Lauren Kafkaloff ended the game at 45-43 with a clutch block.
“Defensively, we weren’t boxing out which created shots for [Burroughs], which is why they got their lead,” Li said. “Once we started boxing out and doing what we normally do, like talking on defense, our shots started falling and we got the lead. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past two weeks for our next game.”
The Tigers advance to the quarterfinals of the Division 3 CIF-SS playoffs in an away game against Antelope Valley High School on Wednesday, February 24. Antelope Valley placed first in the Golden League with a league record of 14-0, and are 23-2 overall.