BURBANK — With senior co-captain guard Stella Ghazarian still a few days away from returning to the court after suffering a neck injury, the Glendale High girls' basketball team needed someone else to step up offensively against Granada Hills in a consolation game of the Burroughs Tournament on Tuesday.
For much of the second half, that didn't happen nearly enough, but, fortunately for the Nitros, their defense was up to the task of protecting a small lead throughout the second half of a 40-35 win.
Center Nina Sahakian scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the second half, but she was the only Nitro to convert a field goal after halftime and her basket to put Glendale up, 39-32, with 6:00 left was the last time the team would score from the field.
"My main concern was just to play defense in the second half because we gave them 15 second-quarter points," Glendale Coach Tania Adary said. "Either way, I guess we were both playing defense because we weren't scoring much and they weren't scoring much."
Granada Hills shot a miserable two for 21 in the fourth quarter to follow up a one-for-17 performance in the third, whereas the Nitros' main problem was holding onto the ball long enough to get shots off.
Glendale (4-4) turned the ball over 14 times in the second half after yielding eight giveaways in the opening half.
"Their press wasn't all that great, in my opinion, but we depended on one ball handler and usually Stella's in there to back her up," Adary said.
Still, despite losing the ball to Granada Hills (4-5) eight times in the third quarter, Glendale took a 37-29 lead into the fourth quarter after Sahakian made a layup with 10 seconds remaining in the third.
Sahakian, who also pulled down seven rebounds, connected on her last four shots of the game, all high-percentage looks around the basket.
"That's what we've been trying to aim for since Day One," Adary said. "I think she's slowly learning how big her role is and the importance of finishing."
In the first half, it was co-captain guard Serah Mirzaeian leading the way for Glendale, scoring 14 points, including 12 on four-for-seven three-point shooting, and dishing out five of her six assists.
Glendale, which also got five points from Kristineh Zadourian and eight rebounds from Keasha Luna, built its lead as high as 15-3 after a blazing start and still led, 27-14, with 4:06 left in the first after Mirzaeian connected on her fourth three-pointer of the game.
By halftime, however, Granada Hills had closed the gap to six points with an 11-4 run.