Nitros Win, But Miss Playoffs
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
With little to play for, pride can still be a useful motivating tool, and it was for the Glendale High boys’ basketball team last Thursday night.
Knowing the CIF Southern Section playoffs weren’t in the Nitros’ future, playing well in the final game was enough as the visitors earned a 47-46 overtime decision over cross-town rival Hoover in a Pacific League match.
The Nitros had two players score in double figures – senior center Derenik Kaloosi with a game-best 18 points, and senior shooting guard David Mansuryan, who added 11 points.
Kaloosi drained a 12-foot fall-away jumper with 25 seconds left in overtime, but Hoover senior shooting guard Rei Fernandez’s potential game-winning shot with five seconds missed.
With 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Hoover senior guard Rene Karamian went to the hoop with authority, and when he scored, the game was tied at 42-42.
“I knew it was going to be a close game,’’ said Kaloosi, who also pulled down eight rebounds. “At the end, my outside shot wasn’t falling, so that’s why I posted up.”
Kaloosi, who stands 6-foot-3, has the ability to knock down shots from distance, or can take the ball into the painted area for higher percentage attempts.
“These games always come down to the end,” said Hoover Head Coach Henrik Sardarbegian. “It comes down to who gets the last shot. You just have to fight to the very end.”
The Tornadoes (5-21 and 0-14 in league) enjoyed a 33-32 lead heading into the final quarter, as Karamian scored five points. Karamian finished with a team-high 17 points.
The Nitros (10-16 and 4-10 in league) were successful on five of 16 shots from the floor in the first quarter, with Mansuryan scoring four points. Mansuryan was blanked in the next quarter.
Kaloosi pumped in two points in the opening quarter, and tallied four points in the second quarter.
Hoover hit four of nine from the field in the first quarter, and made six of 12 in the next quarter.
In the second quarter, Karamian poured in six points, while junior forward Samson Injigulyan (10 points), Fernandez (nine points), and junior guard Sevada Minassian (eight points), all contributed two points.
“This is about character and mental toughness,” said Sardarbegian. “Just like in life, you have to fight through adversity, even when you know it’s not going to be easy. This group did that and they’re going to be better because of it.”
Glendale and Hoover each nailed five of 13 attempts from the field in the third quarter, and both struggled in the fourth quarter.
A basket by Mansuryan, who finished with five assists, seven rebounds, and came in averaging 19 points, tied it at 38-38 with 2:35 left, and a follow-up hoop by Kaloosi pushed the Nitros in front 42-40 with 32 seconds on the clock.
Glendale sharp-shooter Dion Dehbanian and Artur Harutyunyan were out with season-ending injuries.