For Burroughs, it was a showing in the tournament’s championship Gold Division, where a win over Claremont sealed the Indians’ position behind Alta Loma and champion Saugus. For its Pacific League compatriot, host Crescenta Valley, third place in the consolation Silver Division was not to be, as the Falcons ended their day with a loss to Taft.
“We were able to catch up, pass them and really close it out,” said Burroughs Coach Edwin Real of his team’s 23-19 deficit in the first game Saturday versus Claremont. “We had no business winning that first game, we didn’t play very well at all. The energy level was down and we just became very negative on the court. Then we got a little bit of momentum and it got us going into game two.”
It was still neck and neck in the second game until Burroughs broke a tie at 12 with a kill to get the ball rolling.
Tori Adams followed with an ace and Autumn Kanoho added a block to get the Indians some separation, although the Claremont would remain in striking distance right until the end.
Madison Shapiro notched a kill to bring Claremont back within 17-16, but Danielle Ryan answered right back for the Indians with a kill of her own and a Keana Figueroa ace put Burroughs up, 20-16.
Laura Howard’s kill helped Burroughs keep a 22-18 edge and a tip from Katie Rutecki made it 23-19 before Claremont lobbed one last volley. A Shapiro kill sparked a run of three straight Wolfpack points to bring them within 23-22.
Caitlin Cottrell stopped the run with a kill and the Indians cashed in match point when Ryan’s spike was dropped on the other side.
“We started off poorly, but then we stepped it up,” said Cottrell, who earned all-tournament honors. “We knew we had to win to get third and we all wanted to win third.
“We started working as a team again [in the second game]. Our energy level started to get higher.”
Burroughs opened Saturday’s playoffs with a 25-16, 20-25, 15-13 win over Granada Hills before stumbling against Saugus, 25-15, 25-16.
“They’re pretty good,” Real said of the Centurions. “We couldn’t stop their hitter and they served us pretty tough. We were having a hard time with our ball control. ...But it was nice to come back and [beat Claremont].”
Crescenta Valley opened Saturday with a first-round bye and advanced to the third-place match with a 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 win over Heritage Christian. The Falcons fell to Taft, 25-23, 25-17.