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BOYS BASKETBALL: Panther Big Men Dominate

Burlingame rolls to home romp in NorCal Division III opener behind Puliceno and Shaffer; Panthers advance to quarterfinal date at El Cerrito on Thurs.

The Score: Burlingame Panthers 63, Weston Ranch Cougars 41.

The Star: Burlingame High’s Rodrigo Puliceno powered his team to the opening-round romp in the California Interscholastic Federation Northern Region playoffs. The senior post amassed 15 points and 17 rebounds as the host Panthers controlled the paint against Weston Ranch of Stockton on Tuesday night.

The Turning Point: Leading by seven points at halftime, Burlingame outscored Weston Ranch 18-8 in the third period to take a commanding lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Quote: “We got back to having our big guys dominate – the opposite of the Sacred Heart Cathedral game.” – Panthers coach Jeff Dowd, on the effectiveness of starting posts Puliceno and Kyle Shaffer (10 points) and freshman reserve Nick Loew against Weston Ranch.

What’s Next? Burlingame advances to the NorCal Division III quarterfinals where it meets El Cerrito on the road on Thursday at 7 p.m. El Cerrito (23-7) is the North Coast Section runner-up.

The Bottom Line: The Panthers claimed an elusive win in the CIF Northern Region playoffs – and did so with ease. Burlingame had advanced to the NorCals the previous two seasons, but failed to win a game. … The Panthers bounced back in a big way from in the Central Coast Section Division III title game on Saturday. … Weston Ranch raced to a quick 12-2 lead – “It was a little hairy at first,” Dowd said – but Burlingame recovered to pull within 16-13 by the end of the first quarter. … The Panther defense shined against an athletic but undisciplined opponent. Weston Ranch shot just 26.9 percent (14 of 52). Meanwhile, the hosts pulled in at a smooth 47.1 percent. … Burlingame guard Kwesi Bailey was efficient – registering nine points on 3-of-4 shooting while adding six assists. … Loew, filling in capably with Shaffer in foul trouble, had two blocks and two steals. … Puliceno led a convincing effort on the boards – the hosts won the rebounding battle 42-28. … After racing to a 16-point first quarter, Weston Ranch, a Sac-Joaquin Section semifinalist, managed just 25 points the rest of the way.

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Burlingame 63, Weston Ranch 41

WR – 16 9 8 8 -- 41

B – 13 19 18 13 -- 63

WR: M. Allen 2-3 3-4 7, Turner 0-1 0-0 0, Alexander 1-8 1-2 4, Beard 2-11 2-2 4, Cavil 1-2 0-0 2, E. Allen 1-4 0-0 2, Leverett 2-7 0-2 4, Befford 1-3 2-2 4, Washington 0-1 0-0 0, Payton 4-12 2-2 12. Totals 14-52 10-14 41.

B: Bailey 3-4 3-3 9, F. Ferrari 0-2 0-0 0, Haupt 2-3 0-0 6, Grotz 4-12 0-0 8, D. Ferrari 5-13 0-0 13, Puliceno 6-13 3-6 15, Loew 1-1 0-0 2, Shaffer 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 25-53 8-11 63.

3-point goals: WR 3-13 (Turner 0-1, Alexander 1-2, Beard 0-3, E. Allen 0-2, Befford 0-1, Washington 0-1, Payton 2-3).  B: 5-18 (Haupt 2-3, Grotz 0-5, D. Ferrari 3-10)

Rebounds: Weston Ranch 28 (Alexander 9), Burlingame 42 (Puliceno 17)

Assists: Weston Ranch 7 (M. Allen 2, Alexander 2), Burlingame 13 (Bailey 6)

Steals: Weston Ranch 6 (Beard 3), Burlingame 7 (Loew 2)

Blocks: Burlingame 2 (Loew 2)

Records: Weston Ranch 26-4. Burlingame 27-4.

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