The Burlingame High basketball squad entered the 37th annual Burlingame Lions Club Invitational Finals against Half Moon Bay Friday night without their star point guard Frankie Ferrari due to a back injury that had occurred the previous night.
Half Moon Bay coach Rich Forslund said a key to the Cougars' 66-53 victory was their superior depth.
“I think we have greater depth,” Forslund said. “This is an early statement game that we can play with the best.”
From the start of the game the Cougars dominated on both ends of the court. After taking a 29-15 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Panthers (4-1) inserted Ferrari into the game. Because Ferrari was not suited up to start the game, the officials issued an administrative technical against the Panthers to open the second half.
“He (Ferrari) was injured and said there was no way he could go,” Burlingame head coach Pete Harames said. “After watching (the first half), I guess he felt he could make it. He wanted to compete.”
In the early minutes of the second half, the Cougars increased their lead to over 20 points. However, as the game progressed, Ferrari fought his way through defenders to put himself in position to hit some key shots. Through three quarters of play, the Panthers trailed by 12.
During the fourth period, Ferrari went on a roll and made superb passes to his teammates. At one point in the quarter, the Panthers closed the gap to six points. But the Panthers eventually started running out of time and HMB (6-00 secured the victory from the free throw line.
Corey Cilia had a big first half for HMB and led the way with 33 points. Rico Nuno added 18 points for the Cougars and Case DuFrane had seven.
Justin Gutang led Burlingame with 19 points, Ferrari added 16 and Nick Loew scored seven.
Following the game, hundreds of HMB fans cheered heartily as the team hoisted the championship trophy. It's been a stellar start to the season for the Cougars.
Burlingame hosts Serra on Friday night. Half Moon Bay will host Menlo on Dec. 21.
Menlo-Atherton overcame an early deficit en route to a 55-50 victory over Valley Christian on Friday night. N fRIDAYFriday, Dec. 13 in the Burlingame Lions Club Invitational third-place game.
“It’s not our best game, we didn’t shoot too well, but we got a win,” Menlo-Atherton head coach Mike Molieri said. “(Our players) showed a lot of grit.”
Although the Bears (2-2) came up with the win, they struggled get into an offensive rhythm in the first half. By the end of the first quarter, they trailed 13-8. By halftime, they trailed by four. Fortunately for M-A, its their defense kept it in the game and enabled them to have more scoring chances. One of the Bears' top defenders and rebounders was senior center Oliver Bucka. Throughout the game, Bucka came up with clutch rebounds. In the fourth quarter, Bucka clamped down on the middle and dominated Valley Christian. He finished the geame with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“We just worked on help-side defense,” Bucka said. “We want to get better every single game.”
Because of Bucka’s rebounding skills and Valley Christian turnovers, Menlo-Atherton managed to regain control of the game in the third quarter. In that period, Leland Calahan hit a trio of 3-pointers to help give his team the lead.
Through 24 minutes of play, the Bears enjoyed a 38-37 advantage. From that moment on, they started pulling away from the Warriors.
Valley Christian (2-2) was held scoreless for 4:10 of the fourth quarter. It managed 13 points after that, but they weren't enough to pull out a victory.
The Bears will next host Menlo at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while the Warriors host Evergreen Valley on Dec. 21.