Glendale college basketball teams receive division accolades

In helping their respective teams post winning seasons, six Glendale Community College basketball players were recognized by the Western State Conference South Division for their significant contributions on the court.

The division, regarded among the toughest in Southern California, saw four Glendale men's and two women's players receive division accolades.

Among those who received postseason honors were Emmett Duvall, Gor Plavchyan, Jalen Etienne and Emerson Castaneda of the men's team and Samantha Pyros and Elsie Mejia of the women's squad. In addition, Glendale men's Coach Brian Beauchemin was named the division's co-coach of the year.

The men's team finished the regular season at 21-5 and 9-3 in the division for second place and earned a berth in the Southern California Regionals. The women's team, under Coach Carrie Miller, went 15-13 and 6-6 to tie for fourth in the division with Bakersfield.

"It's a very tough conference, and I thought the players we had selected deserved it," said Beauchemin, who shared the coaching honor with John Taylor, who guided Antelope Valley to the division championship. "I'm happy for the guys who made it and I'm honored to be named co-coach of the year.

"My assistants are the ones who helped make it possible by helping me out. It makes you feel good."

Duvall, Plavchyan and Etienne were selected to the first team and Castaneda earned honorable mention accolades, as seventh-seeded Glendale will meet 10th-seeded L.A. Harbor in a second-round home game of the Southern California Regionals at 7 p.m. Friday. Pyros and Mejia earned spots on the first team after helping the Vaqueros improve on a six-win season from a year ago.

Duvall, a sophomore wing, is averaging 14.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Plavchyan, a sophomore forward, is averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game, to go along with 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest despite missing several games with a wrist injury. Etienne, a freshman guard, averages 11.4 points and 5.1 assists per game.

Castaneda, a sophomore wing and a St. Francis product, is averaging 11.9 points per game.

"With Emmett, he's been very versatile for us with his big rebounding and scoring performances," said Beauchemin, who ranks fourth in state history with 591 career victories. "For Gor, it's his second year in a row getting all-conference and we got a lot of double-doubles from him.

"I've been saying the whole time that if we didn't have Jalen, then we'd be maybe a .500 team. He's an excellent ballhandler and had some big games in conference. Emerson was a steady performer who improved defensively and usually shut down the other team's top player."

Pyros and Mejia helped stabilize the women's team and provided a steady foundation for the Vaqueros.

Pyros, a freshman forward, averaged a team-best 14 points per game. In addition, she averaged 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest.

Mejia, a freshman guard, finished up the season averaging 13.3 points, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

"They both gave it their best each game," Miller said. "We knew we could depend on Samantha with her scoring and doing a lot of other good things.

"Elsie was consistent throughout conference with her scoring and playing good defense. We get both of them back next year and that's a good thing because they can definitely help us with their leadership."

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