Liberty proves elusive for Nitros

BURBANK — For all of its shooting woes in the third quarter that left it saddled with the arduous task of having to overcome a double-digit deficit in the fourth, the Glendale High girls' basketball team found itself in prime position to steal a victory Thursday night.

Unfortunately for the Nitros, their comeback bid fell short as they suffered a 41-40 loss against Bakersfield Liberty in a Gold Bracket consolation contest in the West Coast Holiday Festival at Burroughs High.

Having to go the full court to win the game, the Nitros (5-5) inbounded the ball with 9.1 seconds left. However, Liberty (8-6) bottled Glendale up near midcourt, leaving the Nitros without a shot.

"We had the chance, but they just stopped us," said Glendale Coach Tania Adary, whose team mounted a furious rally with 21 fourth-quarter points — two more than they had scored in the previous 24 minutes. "It's hard when you have to go full court and I wish I had one more timeout to call."

The Nitros made one of 10 shots from the floor in the third quarter and trailed, 30-19. Glendale then made some adjustments and began to chip away at the Patriots' lead, outscoring the victors, 21-11, in the fourth.

Glendale received 11 fourth-quarter points from Tara Abdul-Ahad to help the Nitros catch the Patriots at 40 with 1:07 remaining.

Abdul-Ahad's third three-pointer brought Glendale to within 40-38 with 1:29 left. On Glendale's ensuing possession, Abdul-Ahad was fouled on a three-point attempt. She made the second and third free throws to knot the game at 40.

Liberty then had four offensive rebounds on its next trip down the floor before Samantha Walker was fouled with 45 seconds remaining. Walker made her second free throw to make it 41-40.

The Nitros appeared to catch a break on their next possession as the 30-second shot clock was about to expire. A shot by Glendale's Kris Zadourian deflected off a Liberty player out of bounds with one second left on the shot clock and 15.3 remaining in the contest. Zadourian then missed her second shot in a row with 12.7 seconds left, resulting in a shot-clock violation. Liberty's Shawnee Kessel was then immediately fouled with 11 seconds left before missing both shots.

"We talked about being able to get back in the game," said Adary, who received 11 points from Nina Sahakian and 10 from Zadourian. "We had to first play good defense and then we had to attack the gaps on offense and push it.

"That got us going and Tara hit some shots. They have a great rebounding team and they dominated there."

Liberty got 11 points and 11 rebounds from Taylor Carter and eight points from Kessel.

Glendale, which trailed, 22-17, at halftime, will meet Channel Islands in another tournament game at 5 p.m. today at Burroughs.

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