Glendale, Poly boys' basketball use summer to improve

PASADENA — There didn’t seem to be many similarities between the Glendale High and Pasadena Poly boys’ basketball teams when the programs met in summer league action Tuesday afternoon at Maranatha.

The Nitros, who won the contest, 49-42, are fresh off their most successful season in years in which they finished 14-14, third place in the Pacific League and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs.

Poly, on the other hand, suffered a rare off-year in finishing 5-17 and missing the postseason.

Yet, in summer league play, the differences were all about lineups, as Glendale returns only three of 13 players from last year’s roster, while the Panthers welcome back eight of 10 along with two junior varsity call-ups.

“We lost a lot from last year, including [center] David Yetenikyan (school-record 318 rebounds) and (forward) Sevan Pogosyan (18 points per game),” said Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress, who is beginning his 17th season at the helm. “Those two guys were solid for us and this year we’ve got to learn to do it as a unit.

“The No. 1 thing we’re looking at is for people to play cohesively and we’re looking for offense and for guys to up their game and make other people better.”

One such Glendale returner, senior guard Arada Zakarian, led all players with 15 points and was instrumental in stemming the tide of a Panthers’ rally.

Poly, which trailed, 32-31, to start the fourth, scored five of the first eight points in taking a 36-35 advantage after a three-pointer from Brad Shanks with 7:13 left.

The Nitros rallied with a pair of three throws from returner Stephan Arakelyan before Zakarian was fouled while converting a layup.

Zakarian’s subsequent free throw put the Nitros up, 40-36, with 5:59 remaining.

Other than Zakarian, perhaps the next most impressive effort came up from junior varsity call-up Arthur Terzyan.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound incoming junior tallied seven points, seven rebounds and five blocks in his first true scrimmage.

“We’re set one through three on the court, but we really have to develop a front line,” Snodgress said. “This was a great start.”

Terzyan, who’s dropped 15 pounds over the summer, kept his goals simple.

“I was just trying to control the paint and not give up too many rebounds,” Terzyan said. “I also wanted to give it my all defensively.”

The Panthers led through the entire first half before surrendering their advantage when Glendale opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run.

Despite the loss, this summer seems a lot more relaxed for Panthers guard Curtis Toyota, who is beginning his fourth year on varsity.

“Last year was disappointing and it was a lot tougher because we graduated almost everyone,” said Toyota, who tied Will Genske with a team-high 12 points. “We have a lot of talented guys on this team and this is really our time to get better.”

The month-long summer league is Poly’s only action or practice until just before the start of the regular season.

“We don’t have a year-round program, so this is about as much playing time as we’re going to have before the season,” Poly Coach Brad Hall said. “Today was fine, we only have two seniors, so we have room to grow.”

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