GCC opens with win

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It took approximately 24 minutes of game time, but the style of play that will be key to the success of the Glendale Community College men's basketball team started to emerge late Friday against Santa Barbara City College.

And those keys are strong play on the defensive end and plenty of rebounding.

Glendale used a big serving of both en route to defeating Santa Barbara, 78-62, at home on Friday. It was Glendale's first game of the year and part of the program's two-day Tip-Off Tournament.

"We were ready," said Glendale forward Soreen Derboghosian-Pakajaki, who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. "We came strong, we wanted this win.

"It's the first game. We did a good job on defense."

Down, 36-35, at halftime and tied at 44 with just under 16 minutes left to play, Glendale's defense started to come together. The home team closed out the remainder of the contest, 34-18, en route to victory. In all, the team only allowed 26 points in the second half.

"I thought in the latter part of the game they got loose a little bit in penetration, but other than that I think we did a better job," Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "We closed out better. We just played better.

"They make you grind it out. We broke it open and did a good job holding the ball."

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither squad going up by more than five points. Glendale found itself ahead early, 15-10, and Santa Barbara was up, 36-31, late in the first frame before Glendale closed the deficit to one at half.

It was more of the same to start the second half, but with the game knotted at 44, Glendale went on a 10-point run in under 90 seconds for a 54-44 cushion that the team rode to victory.

Beauchemin added that denying Santa Barbara three-point opportunities while dominating the boards sparked the second-half dominance.

Nick Rhodes scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists for Glendale. Shara Babakhanian added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, Marquis Brooks had nine points and six rebounds and Robert Henry added 11 points in the winning effort.

John Dodson had 11 points for Santa Barbara (0-1).

Glendale had a distinct height advantage in the front court, with the 6-foot-9 Derboghosian-Pakajaki and 6-5 Brooks looming large.

And naturally, hitting shots in the second half also helped.

"When you make shots, it makes the game a lot easier," Beauchemin said.

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