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Bulldogs fall in own tourney final

BOYS' BASKETBALL: Renaissance Academy able to come back and defeat host Burbank, 51-44, to capture championship.

December 06, 2006|By Gabriel Rizk

BURBANK — With both teams averaging just less than 60 points per game, Saturday's game between the Renaissance Academy and Burbank High boys' basketball teams in the championship of the 38th annual Bulldog Tip-Off Classic figured to be a shootout.

What transpired instead was a gritty defensive battle, in which the two teams labored to combine for 57 points by the end of three quarters, leading to a final period in which the Wildcats came from behind to defeat the Bulldogs, 51-44, to win the title.

Renaissance Academy played in the CIF Southern Section Division IVA championship game the past two seasons.

"You've got to give Burbank credit because they came out and took it to us, and they took the game away from us in the beginning," said Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke, whose team was four of 24 from the field in the first half.

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"By letting them dictate the pace, it put us on our heels and we did things that are uncharacteristic.

"After halftime, we had to come back, play smarter, make runs and play better defense."

Doing those things in the second half allowed the Wildcats to close to within one point of Burbank (3-1) — which had led the most of the game — 29-28, by the end of the third quarter. The Wildcats took their first lead in the opening seconds of the final period.

Hector Harold, who scored six of his nine points in the fourth quarter, gave the Wildcats a 31-29 lead on a put-back with 7:42 remaining.

Justin Cook, who led Renaissance Academy with 17 points, six steals, four rebounds and two blocks, then pushed the lead to 34-31 with a layup before Burbank's Sevak Amranyan answered with a three-pointer at the 6:18 mark for a e.

The Wildcats rode a 10-4 run to gain a 44-38 advantage with 2:45 remaining, but Burbank had another opportunity when it forced a turnover on an inbounds play, trailing, 46-41, with just 37 seconds to play.

Josh Thomas (five points, four assists and three steals) stole the ball right back for the Wildcats (4-0) and made one of two free throws following an intentional foul. Cook iced the game with two more free throws after rebounding a missed layup by Burbank's Robert Linda with 25 seconds left.

"[The Wildcats] came out and played really hard and we lost momentum there in the third quarter," Burbank Coach Jose Hernandez said of the period in which the Bulldogs scored only three points on one-of-five shooting, while committing 10 turnovers.

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