BURBANK — Playing with an offensive pace that proved difficult to defend, the Hoover High boys’ basketball team a capped strong run through the Providence High Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic Tournament by winning the consolation championship, 70-45, versus visiting Eagle Rock on Saturday afternoon at Providence High.
The victory was the third straight for the Tornadoes (3-1), who rebounded from an opening 67-62 setback to Malibu on Monday with victories over Oakwood (84-55), Pasadena Armenian General Benevolent Union (85-28) and now Eagle Rock.
“This was the first team this year that really pressured us,” Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said of the Eagles’ mixtures of press defenses. “I’m really impressed with how the team broke through that pressure and how Teo [Davidian], Chris [Sarkisian] and the guys handled the ball.”
Davidian, who was named to the all-tournament team, helped Hoover pull away in the third quarter thanks to a period that the team won, 26-9, fueled in part by Davidian’s play.
The Tornadoes led, 31-20, to open the third quarter and proceeded to score 14 of the game’s next 19 points, capped by a three-pointer from junior guard Kevin Nazari (14 points) with 3:40 remaining, which put Hoover ahead, 45-25.
On the Eagles’ ensuing possession, Davidian picked off a pass and glided for an uncontested layup, which put his squad ahead by more than 20 points for the first time in the contest.
While Eagle Rock (2-2) missed on a jumper the other way, Davidian drove hard to the opposing key before kicking out to Nazari, who buried one of his four three-pointers on the day.
Davidian wasn’t finished, though, as he again stole a pass at half-court and went the other way for a layup before finally converting on a knifing layup with 1:29 remaining that gave Hoover a 54-25 advantage.
“We got to the championship of the Pioneer Tournament last year and really want to win this championship,” said Davidian, who finished with nine points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals. “We knew we’d have a good chance if we didn’t allow their big to have a big game.”
Eagle Rock senior Chaevon Gaines, who had scored 32 points in his team’s 76-74 win over South Pasadena on Monday, was mostly held in check Saturday.
The Tornadoes played off Gaines and the 6-foot-3 wing player accommodated Hoover’s defense by taking several perimeter jumpers and finishing with five points.
“Hey, if he’s going to take those outside shots, we’re going to give that to him,” Van Patten said. “That’s all part of the plan.”
Hoover raced out to an 18-9 advantage after one quarter and saw that lead increased to double-digits before halftime as junior guard Rodrick Karamkhodian hit a three just before the buzzer.
As for the fourth quarter, the Tornadoes played mostly reserves as the game’s fate was already in hand.
“This is a great start to the year for us,” said Sarkisian, who finished with 12 points. “We wanted to win this tournament, but 3-1 is good too.”