High School Sports

Burbank girls win battle of unbeatens

BURBANK -- The Columbia (Burbank) girls hadn't played on their home court in 34 days.

So who should come calling for only the Coyotes' fourth home game of the season but Connell, their fellow SCAC East unbeaten.

"The nerves were flying everywhere before the game," said Burbank senior Tiffany Idler.

The mood was the same in the other locker room.

"This was definitely not your typical regular-season game," said Eagles coach Dan Colby.

It never is whenever these two rivals meet. And in a game that oozed post atmosphere -- not to mention postseason implications -- the sixth-ranked Coyotes rallied from an eight-point, third-quarter deficit to beat Connell 34-32.

Jenny Akerblade's layin with 56 seconds left broke a 32-32 tie, and the Eagles turned the ball over twice down the stretch to allow Burbank to escape with its fifth straight win.

"This was the first time before a game this season that I had girls coming up to me and saying, 'I'm nervous,' " said Coyotes coach John Muchlinski. "The second half, we finally were able to settle down and get some stuff going on offense. Jenny snuck in on the backside a couple of times, and she knocked both shots down."

What pleased Muchlinski more was that even though Idler filled her stat line as usual -- a game-high 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals -- it was the Coyotes' complementary players who came up big in the fourth quarter.

Besides Akerblade's heroics, Monica Houser and Briana Rivas each hit 3-pointers off feeds from Idler.

"It was not just Tiffany and Nicole (Roberts) carrying us tonight," Muchlinski said. "We had big baskets at big times from other people."

Rivas' trey gave Burbank a 32-30 lead with 1:54 to play. Connell answered as Brooke Gibbons put back a Maci Whitby miss with 1:30 to play.

After Roberts missed a front end of a one-and-one with 18.9 seconds left, Connell set up for a final shot, but an errant pass ended up in Idler's hands with 2.1 seconds left.

"We're still a work in progress," said Colby, whose team had eight of its 22 turnovers in the fourth quarter. "We're striving to be more consistent on the offensive end. We've come a long way already this season, and games like this will hopefully help us continue to grow."

Whitby led Connell with nine points and also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

CONNELL (32)

Maci Whitby 9, Wells 4, McGary 1, Gibbons 6, Bjorge 7, Taylor, Riner, Easterday, Booker 5, Withers. Totals 13-48 3-8 32.

COLUMBIA (BURBANK) (34)

Tiffany Idler 10, Houser 3, Akerblade 6, Breazeale 2, Roberts 6, Zuhlke, Rivas 7, Rude. Totals 16-47 0-2 34.

Connell 10 5 5 12 -- 32

Burbank 4 6 10 14 -- 34

Highlights -- Con 3x14 3pt, Bur 2x8; Con 37 rbs, Bur 32; Con 22 TOs, Bur 24; Whiby 11 rbs, 4 stls; Brooke Gibbons 4 stls; Kayla Bjorge 5 rbs, 3 stls; Idler 7 rbs, 5 asts, 4 stls; Nicole Roberts 7 rbs.

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