Battle won by St. Francis

Basketball: St. Francis prevails over Glendale in tight tourney game.

July 12, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk,

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — When the boys' basketball teams from St. Francis and Glendale high met in the fifth-place game of the Glendale Community College Tournament on Sunday, they combined to produce somewhat of a summer rarity — a game that was hard-fought, truly competitive and exciting right to the conclusion of the Golden Knights' 59-51 victory.

Emerson's Castaneda's late three-point shot and a quirky three-point play converted by teammate Zack Gardea with under two minutes to play were two of the deciding factors for St. Francis in what remained a one-possession game throughout most of a second half that featured numerous lead changes.

"We need as many of these tougher games as possible because you're always going to look good against weaker teams," St. Francis co-Coach Ray O'Brien said. "You won't really test what you're doing until you play a team like Glendale. They run a lot of the same motion offense that we run with screening, so they know how to handle our offense. It comes down to execution. A tough game like today is very valuable to both teams."


Gardea, who finished with a game-high 22 points, hit a step-back jumpshot to put St. Francis up, 41-38, entering the final 10 minutes of the second half, but Glendale kept the game even over the next five minutes, tying the score on a three-pointer by Suren Gyurgchyan with 5:00 to go.

The Golden Knights began to expand their lead on a floater by Gardea followed by a Sean Brennan steal that led to a three-pointer by Castaneda (18 points) at the 2:30 mark, making it a two-possession game, at 50-45, for the first time since late in the first half.

Anthony Tahmazian, who led Glendale with 18 points, answered promptly though, sinking a three-pointer of his own at the 2:00 mark to pull the Nitros back within two.

Then the tournament's unorthodox free-throw shooting rule took center stage.

Shooting fouls followed a "one-for-two" system whereby only a single free throw was awarded, but counted for two points if made. When Gardea was fouled in the act of shooting from well beyond the arc, he was awarded a three-for-one foul shot that he hit to bring the cushion back up to five with 1:44 to play.

"There was a little overexuberance at the end and I think everyone was trying to top one another," O'Brien said. "Their defense started to come out and be a little more aggressive, so we were fortunate to get a three."

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