It’s not every game that will cause such a home-crowd turnout 40 miles from the home gym, as the stands at last Friday night’s game against St. Augustine Catholic High School were filled on a special night, when Globe High School’s Robert (BJ) Burries scored the points that made him the highest scoring high school basketball player in state history.
The historic basket came when Globe was ahead 40-29. (The game got closer later, but the Tigers had a comfy 11-point margin in the last seconds before the half.) Burries’ basket with five second to go in the half was unremarkable. No writhing, no leaping into traffic. He was there beside the basket, facing one player, and he tossed the ball up, to the left, and in. That basket broke the state record of 3,154 points in a high school career.
The Tigers mobbed Burries, and half-time was spent chanting “BJ,” as reporters as far away as the Washington Post sought interviews and pictures. Mary Kim Titla was there, representing the United National Tribal Youth or UNITY, and presented Burries with a Pendleton Blanket. They also presented him with an Honor Song, sung by Asjha Tveter of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota. Kiara Goseyun, Miss San Carlos was there also. And, finally, the Globe dance team came off like the Radio City Rockettes for the entertainment of the crowd.
But there was still plenty of basketball left to be played. The game that Burries and his teammates eventually won was an important game for the approaching the playoffs and seeding for the state championship. So, he and his team and their coach were concentrating on that.
The Tigers had met the St. Augustine Wolves earlier in the season and were victorious but by only four points 101-97. On Friday, Jan. 18 they also won by four points, 82-78 in a lower scoring game.
Burries hit first for Globe, getting a long pass and putting it in for two. Then, St. Augustine’s Thomas Reyna put one in. After which Corey Chee shot from the top of the key for a three. With 6:54 left in the quarter, the score was 5-2. Wolf No.11, Jose Maldonado got inside for two. Burries struggled along the left side, passed to Daniel Widner, got it back and then put in a jump shot, for a score of 7-4.
After several unsuccessful possessions for both teams, Burries ran down the court, drawing a foul and making both free throws. He missed only one free throw that night. Then he struck again, drawing the foul and making the free throws.
In the second quarter, Reyna woke up, scoring nine points to six points by Aron Palofox and just four for Maldonado. For Globe, Brandon Pina started off the second quarter with a three-pointer.
After a couple of baskets by St. Augustine, Burries added to the fun with a long three-pointer. Score 28-14. The Tigers fended the Wolves off and Widner ducked outside on the right and shot for three. Score 31-14.
The Wolves scored three points, but Aaron Smith came right back for the Tigers with a three to bring the score to 34-17. The Wolves laid down seven points to bring their deficit to just 10 points with four minutes left in the half. There was a feeding frenzy over the ball, but Burries won. Burries came down but was double-teamed and threw the ball to Widner who came in from the side for a layup. Mutual baskets took the score to 38-26.
A BJ special brought the score to 40-26. A Wolf basket by Reyna plus a free throw. Deep and to the right of the basket, Burries signaled for the ball. Widner threw to Brandon Pina who bounced it to Burries, who evaded Wolf No. 12 to reach up and deposit the last basket of the half and the first as a new Arizona record holder.
In the third quarter, the Wolves served notice that there were two teams, when they outscored the Tigers 25 to 23, but the worst was yet to come. The Wolf pack of Reyna, Palofox, Maldonado and Luis Taeviso whittled the Tiger lead to just two points, 73-71, with only 3:11 left in the game. Time out Globe.
Pina was fouled and managed to get the Globe lead up to three with one free throw.
But the Wolves had shown a capacity to surge as much as six points in unanswered baskets earlier in the quarter.
Burries knocked the ball from Palofox’s hands, and Pina tied it up. Globe ball. Widner fired a three and got his own rebound. He passed it to Burries who drew and foul and made two shots, bringing the lead back to five: Score, 76-71.
Two good free throws from the Wolves and they were a 3-pointer from tying the game, but Burries passed to Pina for two and the lead was back to five. Smith tripped under the basket and limped back up the court to face the Wolf attack. No one accomplished anything until the Wolves scored with 31 seconds left on the scoreboard and got within a three pointer of winning.
Globe time out and they were apparently trying to hold the ball to defend their lead in the face of a frantic Wolf attack. After being thoroughly harried by two Wolves, Burries finally flashed in to draw a foul and made two free throws to bring the lead to four, with nine seconds on the board. Score: 80-76.
Then the Wolves scored. After a Globe time out, the clock apparently wound down, but there were still two seconds left, according to the refs. Burries got fouled upcourt with only a second left.
He used the opportunity to raise the Globe lead to four again. And St. Augustine’s buzzer-beater failed to leave the final score 78 to 82.
Globe plays San Miguel on Friday, Jan. 25, in Tucson and San Manuel on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Hayden High School. Globe will play San Carlos again on Friday, Feb. 1.
BJ Burries puts up the shot that broke the record.