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Edgar Melik-StepanyanPrior to the Third Pan Armenian...

Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

Prior to the Third Pan Armenian Games, the Glendale men’s and women’s

basketball teams representing the Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter

were on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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The men were considered to be one of the favorites to win the

title. And the women were more of an afterthought, given little, or

no, chance to advance in the playoffs.

With one more day remaining in the games, the players on both

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teams -- which include players from Burbank -- find themselves in

identical situations.

By winning their respective semifinal games Friday, the men and

women will play in gold-medal games today in Yerevan’s Karen

Demirchyan Sports-Cultural Center.

Anchored again by the strong performances of Teni Hartounian and

Burbank High graduate Christine Kepenekian, the Glendale women pulled

off another upset, defeating Stepanakert, Armenia, 92-91.

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Glendale (4-1) will meet two-time gold medalist Yerevan (5-0) in

the title game.

The men, especially Zareh Avedian, continued to roll along with a

109-90 win against Tehran. Coach Arthur Rumaya’s team (5-0) will play

Yerevan (5-0) in the final, which will immediately follow the women’s

game.

The women’s squad knew it was considered an underdog from the

get-go. Some figured Coach Hoosik Ghookasian’s team didn’t have the

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size and strength to contend with the international competition.

The women have had a blast proving their doubters wrong.

“What separates us from all of the other teams is we’ve been

outhustling teams,” said Kepenekian, a 2003 Burbank High graduate.

“We’ve been playing harder.

“We haven’t been scared of any team.”

Kepenekian has been doing it all for her team, which isn’t

anything new because she had the same role with the Bulldogs.

She stepped up again Friday by hitting two free throws with one

second to play to give Glendale a four-point lead. Stepanakert (4-1)

hit a meaningless half-court shot at the buzzer.

Glendale had its 20-point second-half lead trimmed to two, but it

pulled through to advance to a plateau that only its players believed

they could reach.

“We really pulled together as a team,” Hartounian said. “We played

very good defense and shut down their two main players in the first

three quarters.”

The men have made their work look effortless in their five games,

defeating their five opponents by an average of 41.8 points per

game.

Avedian -- a 1999 Hoover High graduate who’ll be a senior on the

Cal Lutheran University basketball team this winter -- has been on a

tear from the start, and hasn’t let up.

He scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against helpless

Tehran, increasing his scoring average to 29.2 points per game for a

team that includes Burbank’s Elo Petrossian.

“I’m just playing and having fun out there,” Avedian said. “I’m

playing my ball and not putting pressure on myself.

“I know what I have to do and I’m doing it.”


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