NORTHEAST GLENDALE — About the only thing the Glendale High boys’ basketball team could draw a positive from concerning the second half of its third-place game of the Ninth Annual Vaquero Summer Shootout on Sunday afternoon at Glendale Community College was the fact that a tense stand in the final minutes resulted in the Nitros hanging on for a 52-49 victory over Alhambra.
David Mansuryan and Derenik Kaloosi led the Nitros with 18 and 14 points, respectively, and John Robertson led all players with nine rebounds while adding six points, but ineffective play by the team in the second half all but erased a large Glendale lead and forced a close finish.
“I thought our execution was better in the first half,” Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. “Alhambra is a very scrappy, tough team and we expected that they would make a run.
“Some of that run is due to us just not being fundamental defensively — not knowing who we’re guarding and not getting out on people early enough. [The run] was a combination of Alhambra’s grit and our lack of focus.”
Glendale led, 29-14, at halftime after a run of four consecutive three-pointers had pushed their advantage to 25-12 with 3:00 left in the first half.
Four minutes into the second half, the Moors had the lead back into single digits and by the 11:00 mark, trailed just 37-32 following a three-point basket.
Kaloosi bumped the lead back up to 40-32 on a three-point play initiated by his own steal at the 10:40 mark, but Alhambra answered with another three to get within one possession at 40-37.
With 2:00 to play, Glendale appeared to be secure with a 46-39 lead, but Alhambra made another run to get within 48-46 with 35 seconds left.
Clutch free throws by Dion Dehbanian and Taron Israelian, who came up with a big defensive rebound with 13 seconds left, sealed the win for Glendale.
“I think we actually made a step in the right direction [this week],” said Snodgress, whose team emerged as the winner of the tournament’s Pool A before losing to Valencia, 57-55, in the playoffs on Saturday. “I think mentally we’ve had to work on learning how to win close games.”
St. Francis, which lost to Glendale, 58-55 in pool play on Thursday, was the second-seeded team from Pool C and defeated Hoover, the second-place team from Pool D, 32-25, on Saturday.
In the fifth-place game on Sunday, the Golden Knights lost to Temple City, 47-38, while Hoover defeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 46-39 for seventh place on Sunday.
Crescenta Valley’s junior varsity team placed 12th.