SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — After suffering their most embarrassing defeat of the season, Glendale High boys' basketball player David Yetenikyan said the Nitros needed to regroup knowing there would be plenty at stake — qualifying for the playoffs.
In front of a packed house, Yetenikyan and the host Nitros wasted little time getting started against cross-town rival Hoover on Thursday night.
Yetenikyan grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots to help Glendale pick up a 56-39 Pacific League victory against Hoover in a game that was halted for several minutes late in the fourth quarter after a near-brawl took place.
Glendale (11-15, 6-8 in league) clinched a playoff spot by finishing tied with Burbank for fourth place and will next participate in the postseason. The Nitros won the tiebreaker — winning both season meetings against Burbank.
The CIF office will unveil the division pairings Sunday with Glendale, which suffered a 68-38 loss on Tuesday to last-place Burroughs, likely to begin the playoffs on the road.
"After the game Tuesday, we came back to practice Wednesday and we were focused with Hoover coming up," Yetenikyan said. "We knew it would be our biggest game of the year and we played hard throughout.
"We were able to play our game this time. The first time we played Hoover, we didn't at all."
Glendale, which fell at Hoover, 42-34, on Jan. 20, looked fresh and focused on Thursday. The Nitros jumped out to a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and held a 32-15 halftime advantage.
The Nitros received 17 points and seven rebounds from Sevan Pogosyan, including nine in the first half. Yetenikyan contributed eight first-half rebounds, compared to one by the Tornadoes, who finished at 8-19, 2-12.
Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said the Nitros dictated the pace of the contest from the opening tip off.
"We got off to that big lead and we were able to shorten Hoover's possessions," said Snodgress, whose team will make its first playoff appearances in two seasons. "I never expected us to get out to that big of a lead.
"Dave played a great game defensively and getting all of those rebounds. We'll see what happens now. We are a fourth-place team from an outstanding league and I'm proud of where we ended up."
The Nitros got 15 points from Vahe Aristakessian and 11 points and four assists from Greg Davtyan.
Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said the Tornadoes started the contest flat en route to losing their seventh game in a row.
"That was a terrible first half by us and we only made six shots and had one rebound," said Van Patten, who received nine points from Teo Davidian and eight from Nareg Essagholian. "In the second half, we played a little better.
"Give Glendale credit. They came out hard and they made some big shots. We battled and that's all you can do."
The game was stopped for about four minutes with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter. With Glendale holding a 54-36 lead, a scrum ensued under the Glendale basket as several players battled for a loose ball. Some shoving occurred, but no punches were thrown. Administrators from both schools scurried onto the court to separate the players.
The two officials ejected Essagholian and Van Patten sent Adeh Navasartian and Chavez Hall to the locker room. No Glendale players were ejected.
"It's just frustration," Van Patten said.
Snodgress agreed with Van Patten.
"The kids just got a bit excited and there's always going to be emotion in a Hoover-Glendale game," Snodgress said. "Both teams had a say in the two games this season."