GLENDALE — While the Glendale High and Hoover boys’ basketball teams entered Friday evening’s city rivalry game as near equals, they certainly excited Hoover’s gym with a gulf between them.
The host Tornadoes shot 50% from behind the three-point line and seemed to come up with all the big hustle plays in a 69-49 Pacific League victory.
“I told the guys at halftime, ‘Don’t let down.’ We kept pushing and pushing and before it was over we had a 20-point win.”
Hoover (12-7, 3-4 in league) created two important pushes with the second taking place midway through the fourth quarter, as Glendale (7-12, 2-5) closed to within 51-44 with 4:40 remaining on a pair of free throws from junior forward Alex Miralis (nine points and 13 rebounds).
The Tornadoes countered with their usual up-tempo pace, as junior guard Kevin Nazari sliced through the lane, was fouled by Glendale’s Raffi Jivalagian and sank two free throws to put the home squad back up by nine at 4:24.
A costly Nitros turnover then quickly translated into offense for Hoover when Nazari (11 points and two steals) drained a running three off an assist from Arlen Moradi (nine points) with 3:49 remaining.
The triple carried added significance after a Nitros missed three-point try when Hoover came back downcourt and converted another three-pointer, this from junior guard Chris Sarkisian (12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists) at 3:18 that led to a timeout from Glendale as Hoover led, 59-44.
The scoring sequence seemed to fit the game’s storyline as Hoover hit nine of 18 three-pointers in comparison to Glendale sinking only five of 20 (25%) such attempts.
Hoover eventually outscored Glendale, 10-5, the rest of the way in building its final advantage to 20 points.
“We shot really well from the field and distributed well, too,” Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said. “In Hoover-Glendale, anything can happen, so you just hope and prepare your team as best as you can. Give them the credit because they executed and played well.”
Glendale 6-foot-8 center Arthur Terzyan officially entered his exploits into that “anything can happen” category late in the third.
The senior surprisingly connected on back-to-back three pointers, the second in transition off an assist from Eddie Uluchyan with 1:05 left in the third, which both brought the Nitros within 39-36 and sent the near-packed gymnasium into a frenzy.
“This was my last time playing here, so if I didn’t shoot those threes now I’d never have another chance,” said Terzyan, who was stout in scoring 20 points, blocking three shots and being an overall disruptive force in the middle. “I just think we couldn’t keep the energy up in the fourth like we did in the third.”
Hoover led by 14 in the early moments of the third, but saw Terzyan and Co. close to within that three-point deficit.
Yet, the Nitros never came any closer, as Davidian added two free throws followed by a Sarkisian step-back 17-footer with three seconds left that shifted momentum ever so slightly back to Hoover, which led 43-36 after three.
“I just think we had too many guys who didn’t understand what it’s like to play in this game,” Terzyan said. “We couldn’t keep it going in the fourth. We got close, but we needed to do more and play better.”
Glendale finished with 15 turnovers, compared to only seven for Hoover.
The Nitros held a one-point lead in the waning seconds of the first quarter before Davidian knocked down a triple with three seconds remaining to put Hoover up, 16-12, after one.
While Terzyan scored an inside bucket 16 seconds into the second quarter to pull the Nitros within two, Glendale hit a scoring drought as the team didn’t net any points until another Terzyan close-range shot with 1:53 left in the half.
In between Glendale’s buckets, Hoover went on an 11-0 run in going up 13 and eventually taking a 33-21 lead into the half.
Glendale’s Stephan Arakelyan added 10 points for his side.