GLENDALE — After a phenomenal start, things looked great for the Glendale High boys' basketball team in its bid to upset 12th-seeded Simi Valley on the road Wednesday night in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II-AA playoffs.
After the first quarter ended with the teams even, things were still looking good for the Nitros, much as they were entering the fourth quarter down by just three to the Pioneers.
But in the final eight minutes, turnovers and foul trouble proved to be key factors in a close game getting out of hand and closing out Glendale's season, as the Nitros fell to the Pioneers, 61-44.
"We actually were there playing great defense and then we fell apart," said Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress, whose team, which tied for third in the Pacific League and went in as the No. 4 seed after a tiebreaker, ended its season at 12-15. "The roof collapsed on us."
Anthony Tahmazian, Linden Anderson and David Yetenikyan all had 10 points for the Nitros, but the latter two got into foul trouble, which had a hand in turning the game. Yetenikyan had three fouls early, while Anderson drew a fourth and had to take a seat.
"That coincided with our turnovers," said Snodgress, whose team was outscored, 18-4, in the final quarter and got to the line just four times. "We couldn't get to the line."
Meanwhile, the Pioneers (20-7), co-champs of the Marmonte League, were led by George Washington-bound Jonathan Davis, who had 16 of his 24 points in the second half and became an even bigger weapon with Anderson on the bench.
Glendale began the game by racing out to an 8-0 lead, but that soon quelled, with Simi tying the game at 14 at quarter's end and leading, 29-24, at halftime. Simi led, 43-40, going into the telling final period.
"I think the bottom line is we got rattled," Snodgress said. "It seemed like each time we turned it over, we went down and rushed our shots [the next time]."