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BOYS BASKETBALL: Panthers Ousted by El Cerrito

BHS uses 4th-quarter comeback to pull within 44-43 but sees tying 3-pointer miss at buzzer; seniors cap impressive career with CIF Division III second-round loss.

The Score: El Cerrito 46, Burlingame 43.

The Star: The Burlingame High defense allowed the visitors to stay within range of El Cerrito (24-7) throughout the California Interscholastic Federation Division III second-round playoff game. The visiting Panthers limited the hosts to 27.9 percent shooting from the floor, including just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc on Thursday night.

The Turning Point: El Cerrito’s free-throw shooting down the stretch. Burlingame (27-5) nearly erased a double-digit deficit with a barrage of second-half 3-pointers, including one from Franco Ferrari to pull within 44-43. But then El Cerrito’s Jabri Jenkins hit a pair of free throws to give his team a three-point lead. Burlingame’s Dean Ferrari had a decent look at a 3-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime, but his shot rimmed out just before the buzzer.

The Quote: “They do a tremendous job of slowing people down. That’s a great, championship-quality team. They know how to control a game.” -- El Cerrito coach Michael Booker, on the challenge Burlingame gave his team in the NorCal playoffs on Thursday.

What’s Next? Burlingame’s season is finished.

The Bottom Line: The Panthers fell just short of a hallmark victory. Beating El Cerrito on the road to reach the Northern California Division III semifinals would have been one of the most notable accomplishments in program history. … Unlike the Central Coast Section title game against Sacred Heart Cathedral, Burlingame’s offense delivered at the end, and the Panthers came within a near miss of going to overtime. … El Cerrito’s length and shot-blocking ability bothered the Panthers, but Burlingame still managed to get the hosts to play at the slower tempo it preferred for long stretches. … Although turnovers and poor shooting on both sides made for some overall sloppiness, the teams excelled at the free-throw line. Burlingame went 16-for-20 and El Cerrito 20-for-26. … The Panthers’ senior class will go down as perhaps the most decorated in school history. Rodrigo Puliceno, who had seven points and a game-high 14 rebounds on Thursday, has been a part of four straight Peninsula Athletic League tournament championship teams. Burlingame has been the runner-up in the CCS Division III playoffs the last three years – falling just short of the program’s first section title. On Tuesday, the Panthers secured their first NorCal playoff victory in that span.

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Correspondent Jordan Conn contributed to this report.

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El Cerrito 46, Burlingame 43

B -- 12 4 8 19 -- 43

EC – 8 10 13 15 -- 46

B: Bailey 2-6 5-6 9, F. Ferrari 1-3 0-0 3, Haupt 1-2 2-2 5, Grotz 1-5 5-6 8, D. Ferrari 2-11 0-0 6, Puliceno 2-8 3-4 7, Shaffer 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 11-39 16-20 43.

EC: Nelson 1-5 2-3 4, Syvanthong 1-10 4-6 7, Condor 4-12 3-3 12, Jenkins 1-7 6-8 8, Keith 2-2 0-0 2, Pippins 2-3 0-0 2, Johnson 1-4 3-4 5. Totals 12-43 20-26 46.

3-point goals: B: 5-17 (F. Ferrari 1-2, Haupt 1-2, Grotz 1-4, D. Ferrari 2-8, Puliceno 0-1). EC: 2-11 (Nelson 0-1, Syvanthong 1-3, Condor 1-3, Jenkins 0-4).

Rebounds: Burlingame 32 (Puliceno 14), El Cerrito 33 (Nelson 7).

Assists: Burlingame 7 (Bailey 3), El Cerrito 8 (Syvanthong 6).

Steals: Burlingame 6 (Bailey 3), El Cerrito 11 (Syvanthong 5).

Blocks: Burlingame 3 (Puliceno 2), El Cerrito 3 (Nelson, Keith, Johnson).

Turnovers: Burlingame 18 (Puliceno 6), El Cerrito 12 (Johnson 5).

Records: Burlingame 27-5. El Cerrito 23-7.

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