MISSION VIEJO — The game plan was to have a slower-paced offense that would limit the possessions for the an opponent averaging 69 points per game.
The plan was to set the game tempo to its liking, bringing the ball up the court deliberately and preventing fast-break chances.
The strategy worked for nearly three full quarters.
But unfortunately for the Glendale High boys' basketball team, top-seeded Mission Viejo was too powerful.
The Nitros couldn't stop an explosive Diablo team and were eliminated from the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs with 63-39 second-round loss on Tuesday night at Mission Viejo.
"The air came out of the balloon in the last eight minutes," Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. "We finished the game giving up a 17-0 run. That was a lot of hard work down the drain."
For the first 22 minutes, the Nitros (14-14) were within striking distances of the Diablos (25-3).
The Nitros trailed by seven with two minutes to play in the third quarter, despite a subpar shooting performance that saw Glendale shoot 17 of 55 (31%) from the field, but in the final two minutes of the third quarter and in the fourth, the Diablos had too much depth and speed for the Nitros.
Mission Viejo had four players score in double figures, led by Max Redfield, also a football star ranked 30th in the nation by rivals.com for the class of 2013. Redfield had 14 points, Michael Cramer had 12 and Jahleel Tinner, a USC-bound fullback, had 11.
"They're a great team," said Snodgress, whose team shot just three free throws to Mission Viejo's 22. "We're happy to have played with them for most of the game. They have a lot of weapons. They have guys who split you and guys who beat you from the outside."
Mission Viejo was 22 of 42 from the field (52%) and five of 10 from the three-point line.
"They've got plenty of guys to go to," said Glendale's Sevan Pogosyan. "That's why they're ranked No. 1.
"I never thought this day would come. It came to losing to the No. 1 team, I can't complain."
Pogosyan started well, hitting all four of his shots in the fourth quarter for eight points, as Glendale trailed by six, 18-12, after one quarter.
But the Diablos shifted their defensive focus to stopping Pogosyan and the senior was one of 13 the rest of the way. He finished with a team-high 10 points.
Glendale's Vahe Aristakessian had nine points, Edmond Tahmazyan had six and Bobby Casaburi and Arada Zakarian each had five.
Glendale starting center David Yetenekian had four points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Despite the tears and frustration from having its season come to an end, Glendale was still proud of turning in a historic campaign thanks to winning a playoff game for the first time since 1993 when it beat Diamond Bar on Friday in the first round.
"I'm proud of this team and I'm proud of its season," Snodgress said. "We couldn't ask more of the players."