The race doesn’t always go to the biggest, tallest or swiftest. Take the case of the Burbank High boys’ basketball team which faced visiting Muir this past Friday night.
For much of the Pacific League encounter, the more talented Mustangs glided up and down the court and seemingly scored at will, but couldn’t protect a seven-point lead entering the final quarter, so the match was forced into overtime.
That’s when senior guard Peter Wongsasitorn nailed a 12-foot jumper with two seconds left to seal a Bulldogs victory, 53-51.
“That shot and ending was storybook,’’ said Burbank Head Coach Jerry DeLaurie. “Because Muir is so tall and athletic, I didn’t play Peter a lot, but he came through at the end.”
Wongsasitorn wasn’t upset about not playing many minutes. “My coach trusted me,’’ he said. “Those were my only points. I wanted to make something happen.”
The four-minute overtime session saw the Mustangs fail on their two shot attempts, while Burbank converted one of six.
After taking a 15-11 lead in the first quarter, the Mustangs, who shot 30 percent (18 of 60) from the field, were outscored, 13-8, in the second quarter as Muir (15-11 and 8-4 in league) failed on 14 of 16 attempts.
Muir power forward Jelani Mitchell, who averages 15.8 points per game, had a night he won’t soon forget as he scored a game-best 31 points, and nailed four three-pointers.
Mitchell scored from everywhere on the hardwood, and was a one-man wrecking crew. Muir’s next high scorer was Taturs Mayberry, who dropped in nine points.
The Bulldogs (14-11 and 6-6 in league) had three players reach double figures with junior swingman Richard Elmoyan leading the way with 18 points, followed by junior power forward Anthony Kardosh with 11, and senior small forward Andy Yanikyan chipping in with 10 points.
Mitchell scored nine points in the first quarter, but had four points in the second quarter because the Bulldogs (20 of 53 for 37.7 percent) came out in a zone defense.
Muir outscored Burbank, 18-10, in the third quarter as it made seven of 14 shots. Mitchell tallied 10 points and sank a trey.
The fourth quarter didn’t go quite so well for the Mustangs who missed eight of 12 with Mitchell tallying eight points.
This made possible the Bulldogs’ furious late kick as senior guard Sarkis Karium tallied five of his eight points, while Elmoyan added five and Yanikyan four points.