After the 43-39 loss on the first day of the tournament Thursday at host Burroughs High, Nitros Coach Tania Adary called the final couple possessions the lone stretch of the game in which she was disappointed with her squad.
"For four quarters and 30 minutes, they played how I want them to play," said Adary, whose team suffered its first loss of the young season. "In that last minute and a half, I don't know, maybe they were tired."
The dissatisfying finish concluded an otherwise well-played fourth quarter for the Nitros (2-1), who trailed by 11 going into the frame, but fought back — highlighted by two three-pointers from Tara Abdul, whose fourth basket from behind the arc brought Glendale to within three.
At the time, the 38-35 score was the first time the Nitros came within one possession since the opening moments of the first quarter.
On their next possession, Kris Zadourian found Erlin Keshishzadeh inside to cut El Camino's lead to one with 1:42 remaining.
After El Camino (5-2) converted its 16th and 17th free throws, Nina Sahakian answered with two of her own, cutting the lead back down to one. On the ensuing possession, the Nitros gave up a jumper with the shot clock running down, extending the lead back to three, setting up the play out of the timeout that didn't go quite as planned.
With Sahakian on the bench due to foul trouble, the Nitros offense struggled for most of the first half, scoring just four points in the first quarter and trailing 19-6 midway through the second, but turned it around and finished the half on five-for-six shooting to go into the half trailing, 22-17.
"She's one of our main scorers, main priorities," said Zadourian, who finished the game with eight points, five rebounds and four assists of Sahakian, who scored six points in limited minutes. "We need her to stay on the court."
The momentum garnered at the end of the first half didn't carry over to the third quarter, as the Nitros couldn't take advantage of giving up only three field goals, scoring six points in the frame themselves and being outscored by four.
Glendale's 16 points in the fourth quarter was four more than their first and third quarters combined. And though their defense played well when they had to, giving up seven of 11 points from the charity stripe, the Nitros ended up trailing throughout and dropped their first game of the season.
"It's something they'll learn from," said Adary, who got a team-high 12 points from Abdul and watched her point guard Michelle Tomasian pull down 13 rebounds. "They played a good game."