Russ Keith could barely bring his voice above a whisper, but his message was clear.
"This is a super win for us," the Burbank High basketball coach said Tuesday night following his team's 49-39 win over Schurr. His voice hoarse from yelling during the game, Keith said his team "didn't play well, but it's a super win."
Super for the Bulldogs in that it left them tied with Schurr for first place in the Foothill League.
With three league games left, both teams are 6-1. The Bulldogs avenged an earlier 65-61 loss to the Spartans.
David Van Dam, a senior, was the main reason Burbank ended the Spartans' 10-game win streak.
The 6-2 forward scored 25 points, including 10 in the third quarter when Burbank (16-5) increased a one-point halftime margin to 12 entering the final quarter.
"He really came through for us," Keith said, referring to Van Dam. "We were a little tight in the first half and he loosened up us with his shooting in the third quarter.
Van Dam made five of seven shots in the third quarter, mostly from the perimeter. He finished the game hitting 10 of 21 after a 3-for-9 first half.
"Van Dam is the best pure shooter in the league," Schurr Coach Tom Thompson said. In the first game with Schurr (18-3), Van Dam scored 24 points.
Van Dam was such a dominant part of the Burbank offense that he made all but six of the Bulldogs' field goals.
Burbank shot just 32% from the field, making 16 of 50 shots.
The Spartans shot worse. Schurr, a team averaging 65 points a game, made only 13 of 56 attempts--or 23%.
"When you shoot as bad as we did and play a team as good as we did," Thompson said, "that's what happens."
After making five field goals in the first quarter, the Spartans went the next two quarters hitting only three more.
"We tried to put pressure on them to extend their offense," Keith said, his voice hoarse from yelling during the game. "Instead of 15- and 16-footers, we wanted them taking 19- and 20-footers."
When Van Dam hit two free throws with 6:05 left, the Bulldogs had a 40-26 lead.
"I felt comfortable," Keith said, "but you never know with our team."
The Bulldogs suddenly started turning the ball over. The Spartans, especially Damon Hayward, started hitting their shots.
Eight straight Schurr points reduced Burbank's lead to six before Van Dam hit a turnaround jumper with 2:47 left.
Schurr refused to quit, cutting the Burbank lead to four when Paul Chavez scored on a layup with 1:49 left.
Chavez was fouled on the play and had a chance to cut the deficit to three. He missed the free throw. For the game, Chavez made only one of eight free throws.
A breakaway layup by Van Dam with 1:26 left gave the Bulldogs a 45-38 lead.
Schurr came no closer than six the rest of the way.