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
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.