In what seemed like an eternity, the Burbank High boys’ basketball team was 4.1 seconds away from clinching its first CIF Southern Section title since 1926 last Friday night at Azusa Pacific University.
What unfolded was heartbreaking and cruel as Brentwood sophomore power forward Braelee Albert canned an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer as the Eagles took a 55-54 decision in overtime and the Division III-AA championship.
“My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself,’’ said Albert, who finished with a game-best 27 points, 22 in the second half and pulled down 11 rebounds with three assists. “I just put it up and it went in.’’
The extra four minutes was made possible when senior point guard Cameron Sweeten scored all nine points in the fourth quarter, including the tying bucket with seconds left that made it 47-47.
“I don’t dwell on those type of things,” said Sweeten, who had seven rebounds with two steals, one assist and was guarding Albert. “The game plan was to switch on everything. We didn’t want to give up a three.’’
After taking a 12-10 lead in the opening quarter behind six points from Burbank senior small forward Faraz Khandaker (team-high 18 points with eight rebounds and two assists), the Eagles (23-8) outscored the Bulldogs 10-8 in the second quarter as sophomore shooting guard Eric Olofson (14 points, six caroms and three assists) scored eight points.
“We’ve been playing together forever, from elementary school,’’ said Burbank senior swingman Michael Woods, who had 10 points with 10 rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals and one assist. “The chemistry is there.’’
Neither team was able to locate the basket with any regularity in the first half as Burbank sank eight of 29 from the field for 27.6 percent and Brentwood nine of 29 for 31 percent.
The percentages improved slightly over the next 20 minutes as the Bulldogs (23-9) finished at 30.6 percent (19 of 62) and the Eagles at 34.4 percent (22 of 64).
Brentwood used a 15-point third quarter and took a 35-29 lead as Albert tossed in 10 points.