Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Burlingame’s Frankie Ferrari fires a pass toward the baseline during the Panthers’ 54-39 win over Half Moon Bay in the consolation final of the CCS Open Division.
Ever since the Burlingame boys’ basketball team lost to Half Moon Bay in the finals of the Burlingame Lions Club Tournament in December, Panther fans — as well as basketball fans along the Peninsula — anticipated the teams’ next meeting.
The general consensus was that rematch would take place in the Peninsula Athletic League Tournament finals, but the Cougars were upended by Mills in the semifinals as the Panthers went on to win the tournament.
The two finally hooked up again Thursday night in Burlingame as the Panthers hosted the Cougars in the fifth-place game of the Central Coast Section Open Division bracket.
And unlike Tuesday night when point guard Frankie Ferrari lit up Leigh for 46 points, Thursday night was a more typical performance from Burlingame: have three or four players score in double figures, play tough defense and wear down the opponent.
The Panthers (26-4) did just that in recording a 56-39 win over Half Moon Bay (24-5).
“I kind of knew [Half Moon Bay] was going to game-plan for me,” Ferrari said. “You’re not going to score 46 points every game.
“But I’d rather score four or five points and win, than score 100 points and lose.”
Ferrari found a happy medium between those two ends of the spectrum as he scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the field and 6 of 9 from the free-throw line.
He was aided — as he has all season — by the contributions from Nick Loew and Justin Gutang. Loew finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Gutang added 13 points.
It was Gutang who helped the Panthers pick up the scoring slack when it became clear Ferrari was having an off-night — by his standards. Gutang scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half as he helped the Panthers build a 27-22 lead at halftime.
“I always want to help Frankie and Nick,” Gutang said.
And just as he has all season long, Ferrari showed he is more than just a scorer. He came up with four steals, six rebounds and six assists — including a no-look laser to Loew who finished with a baseline dunk to cap the scoring for the night with 17 seconds left to play.
Just as important as the offensive contributions, Burlingame also played locked down defense — especially in the second half. Ferrari helped hold Half Moon Bay shooting guard Corey Cilia to just 10 points. And after struggling to contain Cougars center Rico Nuño in the first half when he scored 13 points, the Panthers shut him out in the second half.
Half Moon Bay stayed with Burlingame for the first two quarters. The Cougars jumped out to a 6-2 lead, getting four points from Nuño during the run.
The Panthers answered with a 9-0 run to take an 11-6 lead with 1:49 left in the first quarter, but the Cougars closed the gap to 13-11 at the end of one.
Burlingame quickly pushed its lead to 20-11 with a 7-0 spurt to start the second — with Robby Baumgartner knocking down a 3-pointer — but Half Moon Bay came right back with a 9-0 run of its own to tie the game at 20, with Nuño converting a three-point play and Cilia knocking down a 3 during the spurt.
Burlingame finished the half outscoring Half Moon Bay 7-2 to take a 27-22 lead at halftime.
Loew converted a three-point play to start the second half and Ferrari knocked down a 3, and just like that the Panthers were up 11, 33-22, with 6:11 to play in the third quarter.
Half Moon Bay came right back with five straight points from Tommy Nuño to close the Cougars’ deficit to 33-27, but the Panthers again closed the quarter strongly, outscoring the Cougars 7-0 to take a 40-27 lead into the final eight minutes.
The teams basically swapped buckets throughout the final eight minutes, with Burlingame pulling away late for the 17-point win.
By virtue of playing in the Open Division, neither team’s season is over. By earning a spot in the Open, all eight teams earn a berth into the Northern California tournament — Burlingame most likely will play in the Division III bracket, while Half Moon Bay will probably play in Division IV.
“We got the win (Thursday) and we’re looking to make some noise (in Nor Cals),” Ferrari said.
It was reported in Thursday’s Sports Lounge that Ferrari set a new single-game Burlingame scoring record with his 46 points against Leigh.
The record actually belongs to Dan Uharriet, who scored 55 points in a game in 1995. He broke Carl Hanson’s record of 51 set in 1990.
Ferrari’s 46 points is, however, a Peninsula Athletic League record since the PAL became what it is in 1996.