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Winning effort is golden

Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

They confidently talked about bringing home the gold.

They boldly talked about their venerable team being a squad that

few could contend with.


And they talked about making a name for themselves on the

international stage.

At the end of the Third Pan Armenian Games, the players on the

Glendale men’s basketball team -- representing the Homenetmen


Glendale Ararat Chapter -- backed up their talk with a resounding


Facing a Yerevan team that consisted mostly of players from the

Armenian national team, Glendale stepped in front of the world media

and dropped jaws with a 97-92 gold-medal overtime win Sunday in

Yerevan’s Karen Demirchyan Sports-Cultural Center.

The team includes Burbank resident Elo Petrossian.

The Glendale women’s team’s Cinderella run struck midnight without


its players wearing glass slippers. The Yerevan women crashed

Glendale’s party, winning their third gold medal with an 85-57

victory Saturday in Yerevan.

The Yerevan women capturing the gold medal was a predictable


What wasn’t expected was 6-foot-6 Glendale men’s forward Zareh

Avedian manhandling the Armenian national players.

Avedian, a 1999 Hoover High graduate, stole the show Saturday with


a 49-point, 20-rebound effort that left everyone in awe of his


It didn’t matter who defended Avedian, he dominated everyone

Yerevan Coach Garlen Manukyan -- who is also the national team’s head

coach -- threw his way with an assortment of jump shots and post


“I was just feeling it,” said Avedian, who had 31 points and 16

rebounds in Glendale’s 109-90 semifinal win against Tehran.

With teammates Artin Avanessian, Anthony Khotsikian and Greg

Gharib marred in early foul trouble, Avedian, who’ll be a senior at

Cal Lutheran University this fall, single-handedly kept his team in

the game.

“I had to carry the team,” said Avedian, who helped Glendale

outscore its opponents, 599-385, in six games.

Glendale (6-0) trailed by eight at halftime, but it closed the gap

to just two at the end of the third quarter.

Martin Avanessian, Narbeh Doloukhanian and Bobby Vartanian picked

up their play in the second half and five-minute overtime,

complementing their strong post players with steady guard play.

Martin Avanessian’s shot at the end of regulation rimmed out,

sending the thrilling 86-86 game into overtime. After Yerevan’s Armen

Ohannessian hit a three-pointer to start the overtime, Glendale went

on a 7-0 run to take a 93-89 advantage.

Yerevan (5-1) came within two twice, but a Doloukhanian basket

down the stretch gave Glendale a 96-92 lead, sealing the win.

“Everyone was doing their job,” said Avedian, who averaged 32.5

points per game. “Everyone was giving it 110%.”

Yerevan 7-foot-2 center Armen Hovanessian, who plays in the

Georgian League, was chosen the tourney’s most valuable player.

The Glendale women kept pace with Yerevan in the first half, but

struggled in the second half, allowing Yerevan to pull away.

“Our shots weren’t falling,” said Christine Kepenekian, a 2003

Burbank High graduate.

“We made a good run for it. We gave them a good challenge.”