SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — When the Arcadia High boys' basketball team cut Glendale's lead to one, Vahe Aristakessian found a way to score on a jumper.
When the Apaches threatened again, Aristakessian hit one of his five three-pointers.
When the Apaches couldn't score and needed a stop, Aristakessian made sure the Nitros' Pacific League opponent didn't get it.
The senior guard did it all for the Nitros in Wednesday's Pacific League game.
Aristakessian had a game-high 27 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead Glendale to a 59-56 home victory.
“If the ball is in my hands, I can create for myself and my teammates,” Aristakessian said. “I'm confident that I'll hit the big shots.”
Aristakessian hit shots in the first quarter, was double-teamed and quiet in the second and third quarters, before making crucial baskets in the fourth.
He was four of six from the field in the first quarter, scoring 11 points as Glendale (7-8, 2-1 in league) took a 19-13 lead.
He did more distributing than scoring in the next two quarters, setting up his teammates for baskets, as he notched three of his assists in the two frames.
For all of his efforts, though, the Apaches (5-11, 0-3) did not surrender.
Ben Bowen (19 points), Brian Taylor (14 points) and Stephen Smith (11 points) took turns keeping Arcadia within reach, as Glendale's 11-point, third-quarter lead was trimmed.
“We lost all momentum,” Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. “When it was time to execute and extend a lead, we let them get back into it.”
Arcadia trailed, 47-46, with 5:35 to play in the fourth quarter after Bowen hit four consecutive free throws — two on a foul and another pair on a technical foul that was assessed to the Nitros.
That's when Aristakessian turned clutch.
On the ensuing possession, he hit a jumper. A stop and another Aristakessian basket gave the Nitros a five-point lead.
But Smith hit a three-pointer of his own with 1:10 remaining to cut Glendale's lead to two, only to see Aristakessian hit a three-pointer with 58 seconds left.
“Vahe brought his offensive A-game today,” Snodgress said.
After the teams traded free throws, the Nitros extended their lead to six and seemed comfortable. It was too early to be comfortable, even with 35 seconds left.
Missed free throws almost cost the Nitros the game.
Glendale was seven of 14 from the free-throw line, including a pair of missed free throws with 24 seconds on the clock.
After Taylor made two free throws to make the score, 57-56, Aristakessian trapped himself in the corner. A jump pass to Arada Zakarian was nearly intercepted, but Zakarian zipped a pass to Rene Saavedra who found Alex Miralis open for a layup with eight seconds left. Miralis was the only other Nitro in double figures with 10 points.
A desperation three-pointer from half-court was short, allowing Glendale to escape for the win.
“Arcadia-Glendale is always a coin flip,” Snodgress said. “You do what you have to do to get those 50-50 games.”