Racing to a strong start cannot be underestimated. That’s especially true when the finish is flat.
The Glendale High boys’ basketball team did both last Thursday night in a Pacific League encounter with rival Hoover, and senior forward Sevan Pogosyan and junior guard Vahe Aristakessian each dropped in 15 points as the host Nitros collected a 56-39 victory, a share for fourth place in league and a CIF Southern Section playoff spot.
The huge lead unraveled early in the fourth quarter as the Tornadoes closed within 45-29 with 6:35 left and seemed poised to make a late push.
Pogosyan hit a 10-footer in the lane and Aristakessian (nine rebounds) swished a shot while being fouled and converted the free throw.
“We had that big lead and then we struggled in the fourth quarter, but Sevan’s floater and Vahe’s three-pointer was huge,’’ said Glendale Head Coach Steve Snodgress. “It’s a good thing we had that lead.”
While the Tornadoes (8-19 and 2-12 in league) hit three of eight from the floor in the opening quarter, Glendale (11-15 and 6-8 in league) connected on seven of 13 and sprinted to a 19-7 lead.
The quarter featured three-pointers from Pogosyan and junior guard Arada Zakarian (nine points).
It became 23-7 when Zakarian scored with 6:08 left in the second quarter. After a couple of misses, the Nitros (44.6 percent from the field) then hit four of five from the floor as the advantage swelled to 32-15 at the intermission.
“I don’t care how many points I score,’’ said senior center David Yetenikyan, who finished with six points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. “I just want to win.”
Hoover missed its first five attempts to begin the second half, and it wasn’t until senior guard Adeh Navasartian (seven points) scored midway through the quarter that the Tornadoes got on the board.
Aristakessian hit a three-pointer in the same quarter, and after a pair of misses, Pogosyan stole the ball and scored to make it 37-16 with 6:42 left. Aristakessian also made a hoop as did senior guard Chris Canlas, but the Nitros then failed on their next six shots before senior guard Mike Perry ended the streak.
The Nitros built a 45-25 lead after three quarters, but made three of eight from the field in the final quarter, while Hoover (30.2 percent) was successful on four of 13.
Teo Davidian led Hoover with nine points, while Nareg Essagholian added eight.