NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The tests keep getting a bit more difficult for the Glendale Community College men's basketball team. However, the Vaqueros keep passing them.
Such was the case on Friday night, which saw Glendale pitted against Moorpark in a semifinal contest of the Vaquero Classic. The Vaqueros entered the game knowing they would receive a battle from Moorpark for a spot in the tournament's championship game.
Glendale broke up a close game midway through the second half to post a 72-54 victory against Moorpark.
The Vaqueros (9-3) will meet L.A. Valley or L.A. Southwest in the title game at 5 p.m. today.
"We got a good test [from Moorpark] and we knew it would be a very physical game," said Vaquero sophomore forward Demetrius Perkins, who finished with a team-high 15 points."We had a tough time with them in the first half playing man-to-man defense and then we went into a zone defense in the second half.
"We got a lot of contributions from our starters and from the bench."
With Glendale, which opened the tournament Wednesday with a victory against Rio Hondo, clinging to a 35-34 victory, Nikolas Rhodes recorded a pair of steals and turned them into baskets in less than a minute early in the second half to give GCC a 41-36 advantage.
Just past the halfway mark of the second half, freshman guard Nate Bryant provided the Vaqueros with a spark. He made a basket with 8:27 remaining to make it 56-44 before making a layup to extend the lead to 62-47 with 6:07 left.
Moorpark, which got 16 points from Crescenta Valley High graduate Coltrane Powdrill, had no answer after the Vaqueros' surge.
"We can score," Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "We've still got to be more aggressive throughout on defense.
"We got some big steals from Danny Lawton and Bryant in the second half and our bench responded well when they had to. Either team we play [in the championship game] will be a good test, so we have to show up and play well."
The Vaqueros converted on 30 of 64 shots (47%) from the floor. Moorpark (5-7) made 21 of 54 shots (39%).
Glendale got 13 points and four assists from Bryant. Crescenta Valley graduate Narbeh Ebrahimian added eight points, six rebounds and five assists for the Vaqueros, who got 10 points from Sooren Derboghosian Pakajaki.
Powdrill, the reigning All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year, made seven of 13 shots from the floor. Powdrill made a three-pointer to cut Glendale's lead to 48-44 with 11:09 remaining in the contest.