Throughout the season, the Glendale High boys’ basketball team showed its resilience by placing third in the competitive Pacific League.
Nothing changed for Glendale in the postseason, where the Nitros looked to carry their late-season momentum and make some noise in the playoffs.
Unfortunately for Glendale, its season ended in heart-wrenching fashion as it suffered a 55-49 overtime defeat at home Friday evening to Salesian in a CIF Southern Section Division III-AA second-round game.
Glendale (17-13) rallied from a six-point deficit in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to send the spirited game into the four-minute extra session. It was there that Salesian (25-4) took control and advanced to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“It’s a tough one to lose, but our boys were up for the challenge,” said Glendale coach Ib Belou, whose team began the postseason Wednesday with a 69-55 road victory against Kaiser. “We fought the whole game and it just came down to a couple of bounces and missed shots.
“We felt great going into overtime after coming back the way we did. A couple of possessions and shots didn’t go our way. It’s hard to lose, but I know they played hard tonight and during the season.”
Salesian, which won the Santa Fe League championship before earning a 39-31 first-round home win against Glendora on Wednesday, received seven points in overtime from Efren Lemus.
Lemus, who finished with 11 points and five assists, made a basket to give the Mustangs a 50-46 lead with just under two minutes left in overtime.
He then made a three-pointer with 44 seconds to go to extend the lead to 53-47. Lemus followed with a steal and uncontested layup to make it 55-47 with 13 seconds to play.
Glendale trailed, 40-36, when Manouk Manoukian made a three-pointer to pull the Nitros to within 42-39 with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Glendale’s Arthur Chebishian followed with a three-pointer to tie the score at 42 with 1:48 left.
Salesian took a 44-42 lead on a basket by Gichairo Berika (game-high 15 points) with 49 seconds to play in regulation before Manoukian made two free throws with 20 seconds to go to make it 44-44.
“We had the momentum going into overtime,” said Glendale’s Manny Kapoushian, who finished with a team-high 14 points. “We had come back and we were ready for overtime.
“It’s a tough loss. [Salesian] made a lot of big shots in overtime. They got more stops in the end.”
Glendale, which finished behind Crescenta Valley and Pasadena in the Pacific League, received 11 points from Andrew Kasparian, 10 from Manoukian and eight points and four assists from David Shamiryan.
Salesian, which held a 24-17 halftime advantage, received 11 points and seven rebounds from Kenji Palleres and eight rebounds from Berika.
“Our guys just tried to get better each day,” Belou said. “You just hate to lose a game like this.”