GLENDALE — Thanks to a balanced attack that featured four scorers in double figures, the Glendale Community College men’s basketball team held firm to its own tournament trophy as the Vaqueros defeated visiting Orange Coast College, 91-72, in Saturday afternoon’s Glendale College Vaquero Classic final.
“This was our tournament, so we had to defend our home court and the championship,” said Vaqueros 6-foot-6 wingman Emmett Duvall, who was named to the all-tournament team after tallying 15 points and 15 rebounds. “It means a lot to win because it means that no one can come in here and take what’s ours.”
Glendale (9-2) iced the contest late after the Pirates (5-9) pulled within 79-70 after a three-pointer from all-tournament selection Spencer Poston (nine points) with 2:21 left.
In some regard, Poston’s three-pointer presented a last stand for Orange Coast, which once led by nine points, and which was outscored 12-2 over the final two minutes plus.
The Vaqueros answered Poston’s triple with a layup from Duvall to go back up by double digits on their next possession.
A Pirates turnover forced by a steal from freshman guard Jalen Etienne, who hit seven of 10 shots in leading all scorers with 23 points, led to a two-on-break in which Etienne fed Duvall, who was fouled while scoring from two feet.
Duvall drained his subsequent free throw with 1:52 left as the Vaqueros never let up in taking an 84-70 lead.
Glendale’s advantage eventually ballooned to 19 as Orange Coast continued to foul until the final 23 seconds of the game and the Vaqueros continued to sink free throws.
“We were just the better team, that’s why we won,” said Vaqueros 6-7 sophomore power forward Gor Plavchyan, who totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds and was named the tournament MVP. “We rebounded and didn’t let them get extra shots.”
Orange Coast last led, 60-59, with 8:07 remaining after a three-pointer from Devaun Evans, the Pirates’ lone double-digit scorer. Evans finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team.
Glendale quickly responded, though, with a three-point play when Duvall again converted an inside bucket, was fouled, and hit a free throw with 8:01 remaining.
The score kick-started a pivotal 10-0 run that culminated in a slashing layup through the paint from St. Francis High product Emerson Castaneda (15 points and four steals) with 5:47 remaining that gave Glendale a 69-60 advantage.
Glendale eventually took a double-digit lead, 75-65, off a pair of free throws from Duvall, who was fouled in the paint after a steal and dish from teammate Jason Moore with 2:43 left.
Both sides enjoyed spurts in an at-times frantic first half that Glendale led at the break, 39-38.
Glendale held its largest advantage of 29-24 with 6:05 remaining after a jumper from Castaneda.
The score, however, was quickly countered by a Pirates’ 6-0 spurt capped on a four-footer from Evans with 3:54 left. Evans was fouled on the play, but didn’t convert his follow-up free throw.
The bucket was the beginning of helter skelter play for both sides as Glendale retook a 32-30 advantage 20 seconds later on a three-pointer from Etienne.
A counter triple from Orange Coast freshman Brad Buchignani swung the score back in the Pirates’ favor as both teams volleyed the lead back and forth until Moore buried a three-pointer off a baseline drive and kick from Etienne with 1:24 left in the half.
Moorpark’s Shaquille Moore and Cuyamaca’s Garrett Larch were also named to the all-tournament team.