NEWHALL — It would be hard for Glendale High boys’ basketball Coach Steve Snodgress to ask for much more than he received out of his Nitros at the Hart Holiday Classic on Thursday afternoon at Hart High.
The Nitros put forth a spirited, all-around effort to keep things close with Righetti of Santa Maria, before the Warriors pulled away in the final three minutes of a 74-65 victory.
Up against a team with a trio of go-to players in 6-foot-7 junior guard Cameron Walker, center Francisco Platero and forward Matthew Laflin (all of whom hit double-digits in scoring), the Nitros (3-5) received contributions from eight players and went deep into the bench.
“It has to be that way for us,” Snodgress said. “That’s exactly who we have to be. We have to get contributions from four or five guys because no one is going to carry us.”
Center Arthur Terzyan led the way, scoring 13 points while doing his best to clog the middle defensively. Tyler Lousararian and Eric Kirakosian each scored 11 and Stephan Arakelyan pitched in with nine.
Down nine at the half, Glendale fought back to tie the score at 50 on a three-pointer from Arakelyan with less than a minute to go in the third quarter.
The two teams traded baskets until the 3:33 mark, when Righetti’s Emanuel Govea hit a three-pointer to give his team a 66-63 lead that spurred an 11-3 run over the next three minutes of action.
“[Glendale] kept playing hard and making tough shots,” said Walker, whose team is now 4-4. “That’s exactly what got us the win was we were able to pull away in the last four minutes. They’re alright. We underestimated them. They’re a pretty good team.”
Glendale did its best to contain Walker, a junior with offers from 11 schools, including USC, UCLA, Florida, Vanderbilt and Cal, holding him to just five points in the first half.
But his ability to contribute in other ways finally got the best of the Nitros, as the junior finished with 15 rebounds and six assists, while finishing with 27 points overall.
Laflin finished with 10 points, while Platero had 23 and seven rebounds.
“We couldn’t deal with their size on the wings,” Snodgress said. “We were running uphill today.”
Until those last three minutes, though, they seemed to be running right with Righetti. And more importantly than the game itself, Snodgress said the game gave him an opportunity to see some of his players battle for playing time in a highly competitive environment.
Things don’t get any easier from here, as Glendale will take on a talented Village Christian team on Friday at 4:30 in its next game of the Hart tournament.
“We’re a team of nine juniors,” Snodgress said. “When it gets to crunch time, we have to focus.”