Amy Beddows 5:26 p.m., June 18
Torreys dominate second half to win first section title since 2002
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO – Whatever happened in the La Jolla Country Day locker room at halftime of the Division IV finals, it clearly motivated the Torreys. Third-seeded La Jolla Country Day dominated the third quarter on its way to a 57-40 blowout victory over top-seeded Francis Parker on Saturday at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
“The key was finishing strong,” said La Jolla Country Day junior guard Sage Burmeister. “We really pushed in that third quarter, and that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
La Jolla Country Day (20-9) trailed by four at halftime, and stormed out of the gates in the third quarter to take control of the game. Behind solid defense and transition offense, the Torreys outscored Francis Parker (17-12) by a 22-3 margin and built a 15-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
“We got pretty hyped up at half – the coaches gave a great speech, we really bonded together and got that extra strength to pull it out,” Burmeister said. “That was the best quarter of our season – hitting our shots and playing lockdown defense. We were really hitting on all points of game.”
At the start of the fourth quarter, La Jolla Country Day scored the first five points to turn the game into a blowout. The Torreys led Francis Parker by as much as 21 in the final quarter en route to their first section title since 2002.
“We’ve been working for this since fourth grade and it’s reaching our main goal of the season – to get this and move on to state,” Burmeister said. “(State) is a new experience for us, but we play high-level basketball.”
The Division IV finals marked the third meeting between the Coastal League rival Torreys and Lancers, resulting in a defensive struggle early on. La Jolla Country finished third in Coastal League play, but knocked off league co-champs Army-Navy and Francis Parker in consecutive rounds of the playoffs to capture the Division IV crown.
“Being the underdog, you have the attitude that you want to come out and kick everybody’s butt,” Burmeister said. “We came out and did that, and I don’t think it’s a question now of who is No. 1.”
Burmeister and senior forward Frank Bamford scored 16 points apiece to lead La Jolla Country Day. The Torreys joined the nationally ranked La Jolla Country Day girls team as section champs.
“Country Day is just one big family, so those are like my sisters,” Burmeister said. “Getting to play right after them and make Country Day a winning basketball program feels great.”
Senior guard Dalante Dunklin led Francis Parker with 13 points, and sophomore forward Evan Fitzner finished with 12. The Lancers fell in the section finals for the third time in four seasons.
La Jolla Country Day – 57 (6-12-22-15)
Bamford 16, Burmeister 16, Brewster 13, Tuites 4, Schlossberg 0 (starters) Kabellis 4, Damanhoury 2, Poland 2
Francis Parker – 40 (12-12-3-13)
Dunklin 13, E. Fitzner 12, B. Fitzner 7, Baker 5, C. Polk 1 (starters) Jenkins 2
Pictured: La Jolla Country Day seniors (left to right) Frank Bamford, Jonathan Brewster and Nick Schlossberg celebrate the Torreys’ Division IV title