BURBANK —In a game where offense was at a premium, high-pressure defense would prove to be the catalyst for the result of the third-place contest between Pacific League rivals Glendale High and Burbank.
The Bulldogs ultimately were the ones who nullified the off-night on offense and prevailed, 43-38, with suffocating defense that caused 24 Glendale turnovers. Neither team shot the ball well in the low-scoring affair, as the two squads combined for 15 second-half field goals.
The teams will meet on Jan. 14 and Jan. 30 during the Pacific League season. For now, it was Burbank (2-2) taking third in its host tournament with Glendale (1-3) finishing fourth.
“The key to the game was defense and rebounding,” Bulldogs first-year Coach Jerry DeLaurie said after Friday night’s victory. “If we’re not rebounding and playing hard, then we’re going to be in trouble. We wanted to limit them to one shot and be scrappy.”
Burbank never trailed in the second half after taking a 21-19 lead just seconds into the third quarter. The Bulldogs reeled off nine straight before the Nitros scored their first points of the frame with 2:35 remaining.
Glendale cut the lead down to one point on two occasions in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs answered with baskets on both ensuing possessions — the latter of which proved to be the final field goal of the game.
Trailing, 41-38, with 1:14 remaining, the Nitros failed to get a good look at a three-point basket. Instead, two of the team’s 24 turnovers sealed their fate.
“We’re young on the front line, but mistakes came from where there are seniors who we count on,” said Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress, who took the Nitros to the second round of the playoffs last season. “We were miserable on the perimeter. Every category I can think of, we came up short. Only thing that kept us in the game was our defense.”
Glendale started the game well, jumping out to a 10-4 lead. The defense didn’t allow a point in the second quarter until the 1:10 mark, but couldn’t capitalize on offense and led by just three points when Burbank’s Peter Wongsasitorn put an end to the drought with a breakaway layup.
It would be the first of 13 unanswered points going late into the third quarter where Vahe Aristakessian of the Nitros made the first two of Glendale’s five points in the frame.
The teams combined to score 25 points in the fourth quarter, matching the opening eight minutes as the highest output. Glendale outscored Burbank by three in the final period, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Bulldogs improved to .500.
Aristakessian led all scorers with 15 points. Glendale’s Arada Zakarian followed up with 14.
Wongsasitorn led the Bulldogs with 11 points. Sarkis Karian added 11 and Andy Yanikyan complemented well with 10.
“The kids are working really hard,” DeLaurie said. “They have no varsity experience, but I’m really happy with the result. We’ve lost some close games, but now we’re winning one.”