Glendale Panther team wins tourney

Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

It's about time.

The Glendale Panther 13-year-old team won the Lakewood Christmas

Tournament over the weekend after a 10-year drought, upsetting Orange

Country American Roundball Corp., 46-43, in the title game.

Glendale started slow and trailed, 29-24, at halftime. Its woes

continued into the fourth quarter, when it faced a 13-point deficit with less than four minutes remaining.

Then, things started to turn in the Panthers' favor.

Neel Mehta started Glendale's rally by hitting a three-pointer,

which was followed by a basket from Neil De Jesus. Teammate Bryan

Aghakhani scored the Panthers' next five points, as Glendale suddenly

trailed by just four.

With 20 seconds left, Aghakhani sank two free throws to give

Glendale a one-point lead. On the other end, the Panthers forced a

turnover and Raymond Beginyan sealed the victory with a basket at the


Beginyan had hit two key free throws to cut Orange Country's lead

to one.

Beginyan finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds.

Aghakhani tallied 11 points, including seven in the final three

minutes, and six rebounds.

Razmik Hossepians added seven points and three assists, De Jesus

recorded four points and four steals and Mat Arevalo had three points

and five rebounds.

Coach Mike Hailey's team advanced to the championship game with a

49-38 first-round victory against Long Beach and a 50-41 win against


In the win against Long Beach, Beginyan led the Panthers with 13

points and seven rebounds. Hossepians had nine points, Rafael

Gallegos scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds, Aghakhani

contributed seven points and six rebounds, and Mehta and Arevalo both

had four points. Armond Tarverdyan had three points and Mon Gonzales

scored one for the Panthers.

Hailey received a balanced effort against Bellflower, with

Beginyan and Aghakhani scoring 10 points apiece. They added11 and

eight rebounds, respectively.

Hossepians (seven points and three steals), De Jesus (four

points), Gallegos (four points), Arevalo (three points and four

steals), Gonzalez (three points), and Mehta, Tarverdyan and David

Lee (two points apiece) all played well for Glendale.

The Panthers will travel to San Bernardino this weekend to play in

the Inland Empire Holiday Classic.

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