BURBANK — For the Glendale High girls' basketball team, Thursday night's 50-30 loss to Valencia in the first round of the Burroughs Tournament quickly became an afterthought.
Surrounded by concerned teammates and coaches, Nitros senior Stella Ghazarian lay motionless for close to 30 minutes before paramedics had to be called to take the guard to the hospital.
Ghazarian injured her neck late in the fourth quarter on a drive to the basket that met with contact, sending her to the floor, where she remained, favoring her neck, as play continued on the other end of the court.
"She initially got hit in the neck," said Glendale Coach Tania Adary, who held Ghazarian out of the game for the final two minutes. "When we shook hands after the game is when [pain] started shooting down her lower back."
The Nitros were relieved to find out several hours later that Ghazarian had not suffered a spinal injury as feared, but rather a less serious neck bruise that had caused muscle spasms, according to Adary.
"She had a lot of pain in her lower back and we were kind of concerned with that if it shot down to her legs, but thankfully it didn't," Adary said of Ghazarian, who was released from the hospital on Thursday.
Ghazarian was one of the lone bright spots for the Nitros on the court, as she put in 13 points, including three baskets from behind the arc — the first of which tied the ballgame as time expired in the first quarter.
Glendale (1-3) was still in the game going into the break, trailing just 22-18, but the wheels came off in the third quarter, where the Nitros managed to score just one point, while giving up 12, as the Vikings' lead ballooned to 15.
"We stayed persistent, and our defense was consistent," said Vikings Coach Jerry Mike, who coached the Nitros in the 90s. "And they weren't hitting shots that they normally make."
The Nitros committed four turnovers in the third period, and their only point came with 1:43 remaining on a Ghazarian free throw. From the field, the team went 0 for 13 in that frame, which ultimately did it in.
Glendale also went away from Nina Sahakian, who scored eight points in the game — all coming in the first half.
Ghazarian scored nine of the team's 11 points in the fourth quarter, when the game was long out of reach, before leaving the game with the injury.
Her three-pointer brought the deficit down to 40-28, but it was all Valencia (4-2) from there, finishing out on a 10-2 run.
Faith Anumba led the way for the Vikings, scoring a team-high 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
"We had faith in Anumba," said Mike, whose team will face Monroe Saturday. "We moved the ball and eventually got the shots we wanted."
"My teammates got me good looks, and I was able to put the ball in the basket," said Anumba.
Lauren Spargo also had 12 points for the Vikings, with six coming in the third quarter.
The Nitros face Culver City on Saturday in the tournament.