GLENDALE — A pair of extended scoring runs proved to be instrumental in the Glendale High girls’ basketball team’s commanding 55-36 win over rival and host Hoover Friday evening.
After allowing the game’s opening points, the Nitros used a 13-0 run in the first quarter to seize momentum and never looked back, as a 11-0 run in the second quarter came on the heels of a Tornadoes spurt and created separation yet again.
All in all, it was a convincing win for a Glendale team that was backed by relentless defense throughout the first of two meetings between the two rival schools.
On the other end, the Nitros used their size to get the ball into the post more often than not when a turnover didn’t end in a breakaway layup.
“We’re slowly getting there,” said Glendale’s Kristina Sahakian, who recorded her usual double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds over the Tornadoes. “Glendale used to be a shooting team, so it’s been a process.”
The Tornadoes (4-8, 2-5) outscored Glendale, 7-2, in the final 1:22 of the first quarter to cut the Nitros’ lead down to 15-9 from 13-2, but the potent offense didn’t carry over to the second quarter where they made just two field goals.
The Nitros scored eight points off turnovers in the second quarter during the 11-0 run that was snapped by Luna Panosian’s two free throws with 2:18 left in the period.
“We wanted to push the basketball as much as we can,” said Nitros Coach Tania Adary, whose team improved to 9-12 overall and 3-4 in the Pacific League. “Size-wise, we wanted to take advantage and get the ball into the post.”
On defense, Adary said the team’s strategy was to pressure Hoover’s guards and make it difficult to pass and shoot. The Nitros were successful in doing so, as they forced 22 turnovers and held the Tornadoes to 10 field goals in the game.
Glendale led by as many as 24 points in the second half and no less than 12, as it kept up the intensity while Hoover continued to struggle finding good looks at the basket.
“They were physical,” Tornadoes Coach Stan Watson said. “Their defense on the ball was more aggressive than it needed to be, I thought. It took us some time to get into the offense and after that, we just didn’t make shots.”
The inside game and aggressive offense resulted in 27 free throws for the Nitros, who connected on 14 of them. Glendale missed 14 in the first half, but fared better from the field (12 for 29). Karah Hui led the team with six of her eight points in the first half and put together an all-around game with eight rebounds and six steals.
“They made quite a bit of free throws and that was the difference,” said Watson who received a team-high 12 points from Nanor Sevajian, seven from Nairi Sevajian and six points apiece from Luna Panosian and Melissa Manouki. “We played aggressive. In a rivalry game, we fought and we battled.”
The two squads will meet again to close out the regular season on Feb. 13.
“We’ll change what we did or didn’t do,” said Adary who will try to end a win-loss pattern over the previous six games when the team travels to Crescenta Valley to take on the Falcons on Tuesday. “One game at a time.”