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Glendale upsets No. 1 Mustangs

Basketball: Nitros boys get big effort from guard in 65-56 Pacific League win.

January 13, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

PASADENA — For the past five days, the members of the Glendale High boys' basketball team have absorbed their share of shock.

After the events that unfolded Wednesday, everything came full circle for the Nitros.

In what is sure to be its watershed moment so far this season, Glendale overcame a slow start and rallied for a 65-56 Pacific League road victory against Muir, ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V-AA poll.

The Nitros (5-10, 1-3 in league) began league with losses against Pasadena, Arcadia and Burbank. The Arcadia contest Friday proved to be the most excruciating, as the Nitros surrendered a game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer in a 48-46 defeat.

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Veteran Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said the Nitros came into Wednesday's contest against the Mustangs (10-4, 3-1) relaxed and looking to snap the Mustangs' five-game winning streak.

"We finally finished out a game in which we played four quarters and we were aggressive," said Snodgress, whose team snapped its four-game losing streak. "The Arcadia game was tough, but we wanted to get that game back. This is a tough way to do it. We beat a very good team in Muir. We relaxed a little after having a good practice Tuesday and we had some shots fall."

Glendale received several big efforts from its top players. In particular, senior guard Steven Gasparian, recently back in the lineup after missing a couple of weeks because of a right-ankle injury, contributed 20 points. Junior center David Yetenikyan contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks for the Nitros, who got 16 points and eight rebounds from senior guard Anthony Tahmazian.

The Nitros, who trailed, 17-4, in the first quarter, needed Gasparian to be at his best. Gasparian made a three-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded to pull the Nitros to within 24-19.

The basket appeared to ignite the Nitros for the second half. Glendale, which suffered a 63-52 loss to Muir on Dec. 18 at the La Cañada High Tournament, used a 21-4 run to take a 40-28 lead with 2:19 left in the third quarter. Glendale owned a 45-33 lead after three quarters.

"I think that shot gave us a lot of momentum," said Gasparian, who made his first league start and finished with four three-pointers. "We definitely needed this win and it's huge for us.

"We were able to get a flow going [in the third quarter]. I wanted to be able to prove myself and keep my confidence going."

Muir closed to within 51-46 on a free throw by sophomore guard Jelani Mitchell with 3:45 left in the contest.

Yetenikyan then grabbed an offensive rebound and converted it into a basket to give the Nitros a 53-46 lead with 3:03 remaining.

Glendale will face Muir again at 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at Glendale.

The Nitros will kick off a five-game home stand at 7 p.m. Friday with a league game against Burroughs.

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