Cedar Park’s foul shooting holds off Bulldogs
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank.
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As Burbank’s players filed slowly out of the Kyle Lehman High School locker room Feb. 27, their coach was doing his best to contain his emotions.
“It’s hard to see these guys go,” Burbank coach Herbert Jackson said. “They’ve worked unbelievably hard to get to this point, some of them for four years. Seeing these guys grow up has been a thrill.”
The Bulldogs ended their season with a 24-11 record in a 61-43 area-round loss to Cedar Park (25-6). They were the first Burbank team make the playoffs and also to get past the bi-district round since 2012.
Burbank advanced with a 57-47 bi-district win over Seguin Feb. 24 at the Bill Greehey Arena on the St. Mary’s University campus.
“The journey we have taken to get here,” Jackson said, “I couldn’t have done it without my coaching staff. It’s been something very special.”
Burbank never led against the Timberwolves, but the Bulldogs showed their mettle at a few different stages of the game.
Cedar Park scored the first five points. A steal and layup from senior Jordan Santos put Burbank within 8-4 with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter. The substitute guard also scored twice early in the second quarter after the Timberwolves extended their lead.
The Bulldogs got their offense flowing in the quarter. They pulled within 23-16 with a pair of free throws from junior Moses Betancourt and a three-pointer from Juan Castillo. Two more foul shots from Betancourt (11 points, 4 assists) closed Burbank’s deficit to 25-21 with 59.1 seconds until halftime.
However, Cedar Park responded with consecutive fast-break baskets that started a 9-3 spurt – interrupted only by another three-pointer from Castillo (10 points).
“Coach (Blake Brown) had us really ready,” said Timberwolves sophomore Keaton Hervey, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. “We knew all their plays. I feel like we’re playing really well.”
Cedar Park’s lead expanded to 43-28 after three quarters with senior Trey Knight (19 points) contributing seven of his 19 points.
A pair of three-pointers from senior Moses Montalvo began a final Bulldogs run. Santos made two technical free throws and Betancourt added another to cut the Timberwolves’ lead to 48-37 with 6:17 remaining.
Hervey scored eight of Cedar Park’s 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play that prevented Burbank from cutting further into its cushion.
“They did a good job,” Jackson said. “They took (28) free throws and only missed seven. The ball didn’t fall for us today.”
Like Burbank, Cedar Park was an experienced team. Knight was a four-year starter for the Timberwolves, who eventually advanced to the state semifinals.
“(Our experience) helps a lot,” Hervey said. “We’ve all been in close games. This is the first time we’ve gotten past the second round in four years. I feel like we can go all the way.”
Against Seguin, the Bulldogs ended the game with a 10-3 surge. The Matadors had pulled within 47-44 late, after Burbank established a 27-17 halftime lead.
Montalvo led Burbank with 17 points. Betancourt added 11 points and Michael Mascorro had 10. Castillo finished with eight.
“The seniors came to play,” Jackson said. “They expected to win. They didn’t want to be one-and-done. They had a lot of energy in practice, and it carried over to the game.”
Burbank raced to an 11-3 record by early December, signalling their resurgence. The Bulldogs finished in a three-way tie for second place in District 28-5A with Brackenridge and Sam Houston.
The Bulldogs lose six seniors who played in the season finale to graduation.