Glendale gets hot in fourth

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Inspiration was hardly lacking for the Glendale High girls' basketball team against visiting Crescenta Valley.

For one, it was senior night for the Nitros, who had lost the teams' previous meeting despite holding a sizeable fourth-quarter lead.

Add to the mix a host of Pacific League implications against a chief rival in Crescenta Valley and the result was a motivated Glendale squad playing in more than just another game on the schedule.

It was close throughout between the two teams, but the Nitros ultimately prevailed, 57-50, behind stellar performances from seniors and underclassmen alike to further muddle the middle of the league standings heading into Thursday's final games.

"We stepped up when we needed to," said Glendale Coach Tania Adary, whose team remains a game out of fourth place with league-winless Hoover remaining on the schedule. "Our younger kids knew the pressure on getting the seniors the win."

The Nitros (13-12, 5-8 in league) were led by senior Serah Mirzaeian with a team-high 22 points to go along with seven boards and three assists. Fellow senior Stella Ghazarian finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds.

"It hasn't hit me yet, it's the best feeling," said Mirzaeian, who hit four from long range. "I had the mentality to just put it all on the floor."

Ghazarian shared the same sentiments after the emotional win.

"It's the greatest feeling," she said. "It's our home, we should come out on top."

While the two seniors helped keep Glendale in the game for the first three quarters, it was junior Nina Sahakian who powered Glendale's surge in the fourth quarter.

The center took advantage of her size down low and put in 10 points in the fourth quarter, including two three-point plays — the second of which cut the Falcons' lead down to two before Sahakian tied the game with two free throws on the next offensive possession.

"We looked like we were getting ready to push the lead and take control," said Coach Jason Perez, whose Falcons can still clinch fourth place outright with a win over Arcadia on Thursday combined with a Pasadena loss to Muir and a Burbank loss to Burroughs. "In the fourth quarter, we just let them kind of hang around. It was a two-point game in the fourth, they're at home, it's their senior night and in the fourth quarter they started hitting shots and we made some mental mistakes and allowed them to push the lead."

It was a tightly contested fourth period until Ghazarian hit a three-pointer to stretch the Nitros' lead to 53-48. The senior guard then put the game away from the free-throw line, where she made four of her six attempts as the Falcons were attempting one final run.

In the third quarter, the Falcons came out and scored seven quick points after the two teams went into halftime knotted up at 23.

Glendale answered with its own 7-0 run. But the Falcons (13-12, 6-7) weren't done, as they then went on an 8-2 run that gave them a six-point lead midway through the third period.

Crescenta Valley's Catherine Davis hit one from behind the arc as time expired in the third quarter to give the Falcons a five-point advantage and momentum that would prove to be nullified by Sahakian and the Nitros.

"We started the game off a little bit flat and even though we were tied at halftime, we weren't playing exceptionally great," Perez said. "We were kind of playing a slow-down [tempo], more of what Glendale wanted to do. They were dictating the pace and we weren't pushing the lead."

Crescenta Valley's Sarah Yoon led the Falcons in the scoring department with 20. Catherine Davis added 11 in the losing effort.

Keasha Luna finished with nine points in the contest for Glendale.

At 6-7 in league, Crescenta Valley is tied for fourth with Burbank, with Pasadena in third place at 7-6. Glendale and Arcadia are both knotted at 5-8 in sixth place. The top four in the standings receive automatic playoff berths.

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