Glendale center Vahe Aristakessian finished with nine points and seven rebounds for the Nitros.

Glendale center Vahe Aristakessian finished with nine points and seven rebounds for the Nitros. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer / November 28, 2012)

BURBANK — It’s possible the Glendale High boys' basketball team won't face a tougher stretch the rest of the season like it has through its first two games.

How the Nitros respond from losing both games to powerhouses is what’s on the mind of Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress.

“We seem to have it in us when we go up against good teams,” said Snodgress, whose team suffered a 61-45 pool-play loss to Village Christian, the defending CIF Division V state champion, on Wednesday afternoon in the Burbank High Tournament. “We played well for three quarters, but there are no real moral victories.

“We took them to overtime last year in the tournament, so we have a history of playing hard and well against them. We have a young team and we were able to regroup.”

Glendale dropped to 0-2. It opened the season Tuesday with a pool-play loss against Royal, ranked No. 7 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II-AA poll. Village Christian (3-0) is No. 2 in Division V-AA.

Glendale trailed, 39-35, through three quarters. Village Christian’s height and experience factored into it outscoring Glendale, 22-10, in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders have four players who are 6-feet-4 or taller.

“We hung in there, but we were at a disadvantage in size,” said Snodgress, who saw the Crusaders grab four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.

On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Jerrick Ahanmisi made a three-pointer to give the Crusaders a 42-35 advantage.

Glendale’s Arada Zakarian, who finished with a team-high 16 points and three steals despite battling an illness, said Ahanmisi’s basket deflated the Nitros.

“It got [Village Christian] confident and we seemed to take it hard,” said Zakarian, who finished with 11 second-half points. “We had the urge to come back, but we fell short.

“I don’t think there is a team [in the Pacific League] that’s as big as Village Christian. These are the kind of games in which you learn.”

Vahe Aristakessian finished with nine points and seven rebounds for the Nitros, who received eight points and six rebounds from Arthur Terzyan.

Aristakessian made a jump shot with two seconds left in the first half to bring the Nitros to within 32-21. Glendale opened the second half on a 13-6 run, capped by a layup by Aristakessian to help pull Glendale to within 38-34 with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Marsalis Johnson finished with a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds for Village Christian, which got 17 points from Bryan Alberts and nine points and a game-high five steals from Bijon Isles. Alberts had 10 second-half points.

Glendale will compete in another pool-play game at 3 p.m. today against Roosevelt. The tournament will conclude Friday. Village Christian will face Royal at 6:30.