NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Unbeaten in the 2011 Vaquero Summer Classic heading into the playoff round, the Glendale High boys' basketball team had a chance to move forward into the championship game when it took on Valencia on Saturday at Glendale Community College.
Instead, the Nitros took a step back from their solid summer play of late, wilting under the weight of too many turnovers and not enough offense in the second half of a 51-44 loss.
"We just flat out turned the ball over too much today and that was our killer," said Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress, whose team took a 23-17 lead into halftime, but lost it for good early in the second half. "We got sloppy and I just thought they out-toughed us. They just wanted the ball more than we did.
"We weren't very smart and we just never got enough looks at the rim in the second half to play well."
Following Aren Ohanian's three-pointer that cut the Vikings' lead to 43-39 with 1:39 to play, Glendale did get a couple of looks in the closing moments that could have changed the outcome of the game. But David Yetenikyan's attempt at a go-ahead three-pointer was blocked from the side and Valencia quickly took the ball the other way for a layup and a 45-41 lead.
Still trailing by just four, Glendale saw Sevan Pogosyan's three-pointer rim out with the clock ticking down under 30 seconds just before Valencia pushed the lead to six. Pogosyan would misfire on two more long-ball attempts down the stretch, as Valencia pulled away for good.
"We shot poorly for us. Aren had a good game beyond the arc, but no one else could even approach their usual game back there," said Snodgress, who got 12 points from Ohanian on four three pointers. "Usually, we can count on a couple of those threes to keep us in it, but they just wouldn't go today."
Yetenikyan scored in double figures in the first half, but went 0 for seven from the field in the second half, while remaining productive with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks after halftime.
The Nitros led by as many as 10 in the first half and held a 23-17 advantage going into the second half, but proceeded to turn the ball over five times inside the first three minutes, while failing to score.
The Vikings led by as many as eight points at the 7:30 mark before Glendale began its rally on two straight baskets by Pogosyan.
Glendale will play for third place at 2:40 p.m. today at GCC against La Salle, while Valencia will meet Grant for the tournament championship directly following.
Crescenta Valley and St. Francis faced off earlier Saturday and the Falcons emerged with a narrow 49-46 win to advance to the fifth-place game at 1:30 p.m. today against Pacific League foe Burbank.
St. Francis will meet Hoover, which lost, 68-60, to Burbank earlier Saturday, in the seventh-place game set to begin at 12:20 p.m.