Nitros get best of Rebels

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Without the towering presence of Flintridge Prep boys' basketball player Kenyatta Smith in the middle plugging the lane, Glendale High had a quick plan of action.

With the 6-foot-7 Smith, a senior center, hobbled by nagging injuries, the Nitros wanted to attack the basket quick and do it with a smooth transition game. The Nitros exceeded the expectations.

Glendale received 12 points from Dion Banoian, including nine in the first five minutes, to lead the way in a 57-45 win against Flintridge Prep on Friday afternoon in a Flintridge Prep Tournament contest.

"[Smith] is a good player and we did some good things in stretches," Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. "We generated a lot of good looks toward the last half of the first half.

"We started off well and we were able to get to the rim early. I wasn't pleased with the way we gave up second-chance shots in the second half. We were up and down and all over the place and that's not a good way to go about being successful."

Banoian scored nine consecutive points to help Glendale jump out to a 16-6 lead with 9:38 left in the first half. He began with a three-pointer to give the Nitros a 7-3 lead with 11:40 remaining and capped his stretch with a layup to extend the lead to 16-6 two minutes later.

The Nitros got a three-pointer from Suren Gyurgchyan at the buzzer to extend Glendale's lead to 40-20.

Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara, who guided the Rebels to the Prep League championship last season, said the large deficit proved to be too much for the Rebels to overcome.

"We had too many mistakes on both sides of the ball," Ohara said. "We didn't play too well on either side of the ball.

"Defensively, I thought we played better in the second half in holding them to 17 points. With Kenyatta not here, we have some guys who have to play different positions. He does give us that shot-blocking presence."

Smith averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks per game last season en route to securing All-Area and All-CIF first-team honors. The Rebels turned to senior Jared Norsworthy to fill in for Smith.

The Rebels played a bit better in the second half. However, they could get no closer than 12 points twice.

"We got a little lazy defensively in the second half," said Snodgress, whose team got seven points from Anthony Tahmazian.

Flintridge Prep received a team-best nine points from junior guard Kory Hamane and four from senior forward Sam Honch.

Glendale and Flintridge Prep each competed in another tournament game Friday night. Glendale faced La Cañada and Flintridge Prep met Muir.

Each team will participate in a pair of tournament contests today. Glendale will battle St. Francis at 11:15 a.m. and Pacific League foe Muir at 3 p.m. Flintridge Prep will compete against La Cañada at 10 a.m. and St. Francis at 1:45 p.m.

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