GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College men’s basketball team faced a lofty double-digit deficit at the start of the second half of its Western State Conference South Division home opener against L.A. Valley College.
Though the Vaqueros continuously chipped away at the Monarchs’ lead throughout the second half and got as close as four points, it wasn’t enough.
Glendale made a strong effort in the final minute of its conference home opener, but L.A. Valley prevailed, 59-56, on Saturday.
“Our game plan was to help off of the shooters because they have three or four shooters who can really shoot the ball,” said Glendale assistant coach Malik Bray, who took questions as coach Vigen Jilizian immediately left after the Vaqueros’ team meeting. “Our game plan was to help off the shooters and for our guys to be in help side, but they got a couple of shots that were critical to them.
“For us, it was just a matter of execution. We got the ball into the spots we needed to, but I feel like we broke off to some plays that, if we didn’t break them off, we would’ve ran it fully and got our guys in for solid looks.”
Glendale freshman and Crescenta Valley High graduate Andreyas Boghossian had 23 points and freshman Brooklin Sharpe added 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Monarchs were led by sophomore Kody Knox with 20 points, followed by freshman Leandre McIntyre’s 10-point effort. L.A. Valley freshman and Providence graduate Jonas Holt added five points and six rebounds.
A three-pointer from Sharpe put the Vaqueros (5-11, 0-2 in the division) ahead, 8-3, with 18:13 left in the first half.
The Monarchs (13-3, 1-1) battled back to a one-point deficit at 15:35, when the visitors started to build on a 12-0 run that stripped the Vaqueros of their lead. In a span of 2 minutes, 52 seconds, Knox scored eight of the team’s 12 points during the run for a 19-10 lead before a free throw from Glendale freshman Andre Scott ended Glendale’s drought.
“That’s things that we do and we’ve had a good year,” L.A. Valley coach Virgil Watson said. “We’re able to share the ball and defend people with energy so we’re able to get those kind of runs. We just can’t relax because good teams don’t quit playing. They keep coming at you, so the key was to sustain that the whole game.”
Sharpe then knocked down a three with 9:54 for the host’s first shot from the field to end a field-goal drought that lasted 6:23.
The Monarchs went on a 6-0 run to take its largest lead of the half, 27-14, before the Vaqueros cut it back to a single-digit difference, with a three from Scott and a layup from Boghossian with 4:19 remaining in the half.
Another jump shot from Boghossian and a three from freshman Khanbulag Nyamkhyuu pulled the Vaqueros to within 28-24 with 1:42 left before Sharpe closed out the half with a jumper at the buzzer to make it 33-26 at halftime.
A three-pointer from Holt capped a 9-0 run to the start of the second half for the Monarchs, who took a 42-26 lead at the 16:00 mark.
Scott got the Vaqueros on the board in the second half with a pair of free throws before Boghossian scored the host’s first shot from the field with a three-pointer for a 42-31 score at 14:54.
Consecutive three-pointers from Boghossian sliced the Monarchs’ advantage to six points before Sharpe drove to the rim and got the Vaqueros within 48-44 with 6:32 left.
“We were just trying to get better shots,” Boghossian said. “In the first half, we were taking too many contested shots — me, myself [in particular]. I even air-balled. We were just trying to get better shots by slowing down, trying to get in transition more for easy baskets.”
Down by nine points with 1:46 remaining, the Vaqueros received a three-pointer and a put-back from freshman Dianta McDowell to make it a 58-54 deficit with 37.8 to go.