BURBANK — He's seen better starts to season openers before and Glendale High boys' basketball Coach Steve Snodgress would just as soon like to forget the latest season debut.
The Nitros kicked off their season Monday afternoon and immediately struggled with their shooting.
Glendale made only three first-half shots from the floor and suffered a 54-26 loss to Mark Keppel in a pool-play contest of the 42nd annual Bulldog Tip-Off Classic at Burbank High.
Glendale's top three players — David Yetenikyan, Dion Banoian and Anthony Tahmazian — combined to make two of 25 shots in the first half, leading to mounting frustration from Snodgress.
"Anytime your top-three scorers shoot two for 25, you are not going to score many points," said Snodgress, whose team trailed, 27-7, at halftime. "The bottom line is that we have to get better in every single facet.
"We were cold to start the game."
The Nitros, who didn't qualify for the playoffs last season, never led Monday. Mark Keppel (1-0) had no trouble heating up its offense, often having good looks at the basket throughout the 32-minute contest.
The Aztecs made six three-pointers, including all three in the first half from Jordan Young. Young finished with a game-high 25 points, including 15 from three-point territory.
Glendale, which will participate in another pool-play game at 5 p.m. today against Canyon Country Canyon, didn't make its first basket until 2:18 was left in the first quarter. Sevan Pogosyan scored on a layup to cut Mark Keppel's lead to 8-3.
The Aztecs then got a rare four-point play from Young with 21 seconds left in the first stanza to take a 14-3 lead.
Yetenikyan, a junior center, led Glendale with six points and a game-best 11 rebounds despite battling flu-like symptoms. Yetenikyan recorded five second-half points.
The Nitros received five and four points from sophomore guard Arada Zakarian and Tahmazian, respectively.
Tahmazian, a senior guard, contributed seven rebounds.
"We have got to get better looks," Snodgress said. "There's no excuse for that one."
Young finished with a game-high five steals for the Aztecs, who received nine points from Justin Young, Jordan's brother.