Hoover picks up late victory

SOUTH PASADENA — Things figure to be different for the upcoming season concerning the Hoover High and La Cañada girls' basketball teams.

At Hoover, the Tornadoes have a new coach in Stan Watson.

La Cañada lost nine seniors to graduation and will likely view next season as a rebuilding one.

Nevertheless, Hoover and La Cañada found a way for some late dramatics during a South Pasadena Summer League contest Wednesday afternoon.

Hoover scored the last five points of the game to secure a 32-31 victory against La Cañada at South Pasadena High.

Amatia Golbodaghi made one of two free throws with 9.9 seconds left to lead Hoover to its third win in a row at South Pasadena. Golbodaghi earlier made a free throw with 58.9 seconds to knot the game at 31.

The Tornadoes received a team-best 14 points from sophomore center Allison Zalin.

Zalin made a pair of big shots from the floor to keep Hoover within striking distance. She scored on a layup to pull Hoover to within 31-28 with 3:10 remaining before making a short jump shot to cut the lead to 31-30 with 1:31 left.

"We were able to execute down the stretch," said Watson, who served as an assistant with the Glendale Community College women's basketball program last season. "I called a timeout when we were down [late in the second half] and told them to give me one stop on defense and a basket and we were able to get that and go from there.

"It's a great confidence boost for us because it's important to see them win some games like these. Allison played big for us by getting some points, blocking shots and defending well in the paint."

The Spartans, who lost standouts Courtney McCutchan, Tia Chen and Shannon Denny to graduation, received 11 points from Kristene Hossepian and eight from Courtney Chen.

Veteran La Cañada Coach Tamar Hill, whose team advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs last season, said the Spartans played one of their better summer contests Wednesday.

"We have a lot of people playing at the varsity level for the first time," said Hill, whose team owned a 22-20 halftime advantage. "It's about learning to play good defense and things like that.

"It's one of our best games as far as offensive production is concerned. They lost a close game, but it will put a little more fire in them."

The Tornadoes got six points from Lauraine Barakat. Barakat converted on a layup to give Hoover a 14-13 lead with 8:45 left in the first half. On Hoover's next possession, Barakat drained a jump shot to extend the lead to 16-13.

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