ARCADIA — Teo Davidian is unquestionably the leader of the Hoover High boys’ basketball team.

That is why after the Tornadoes lost their first two games in Pacific League play, the senior guard put pressure on himself to avoid an “unacceptable” winless start over three games.

Davidian didn’t allow Hoover to suffer a third straight loss, as he scored when he had to with an array of drives and step-back jumpers, handed out assists as the team’s new lead point guard and locked down his assignment through crucial stretches of the fourth quarter.

He finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals to lead Hoover to a 64-55 victory against host Arcadia on Monday.

“Teo is the best player we have,” Tornadoes Coach Jack Van Patten said. “He’s done a lot for us. He’s carried us. He’s supposed to carry us. He’s a senior. He’s been terrific.”

Davidian’s teammate, Chris Sarkisian, also had a strong performance with 17 points and six rebounds, but the junior deflected praise to his teammate.

“Teo has been on varsity for three years,” said Sarkisian, a 6-foot-3 junior. “He’s our leader. I look up to him.”   

Junior forward Argin Sarkisian added 10 points and five rebounds for the Tornadoes (10-5, 1-2 in league), who started Monday’s contest by making their first eight shots and finished the game with key baskets from Davidian and both Sarkisians.

Arcadia slowed down Hoover’s fast start, in which the Tornadoes scored 20 first-quarter points, just in time as it began hitting its shots. The Apaches (3-11, 0-3) made six three-pointers in the opening half, including five in the second quarter, when they erased a six-point deficit, and took a lead by one before Davidian’s two free throws in the final seconds of the half gave Hoover a 35-34 lead.

Davidian took control on offense in the third quarter, scoring eight of his points in the eight-minute span, but the Apaches remained resilient and trailed by just a bucket two minutes into the fourth quarter.

However, an assist from Davidian to Argin Sarkisian for a lay-in, a basket by Davidian and a full-court drive and layup by Chris Sarkisian, coupled in with missed Apaches chances, gave Hoover its first comfortable lead, a 58-50 advantage, since the first quarter.

Davidian hit free throws toward the end to seal the victory, a much-needed one for the Tornadoes, who avoided a bigger hole to start league as they hope to finish in the top four in league play.

Said Davidian: “We had a slow start in league. This game, we came out better.”