Aleka Jocinto

Aleka Jocinto (Tim Berger Staff Photographer / January 16, 2014)

GLENDALE — The Glendale Adventist Academy girls' basketball team started on a torrid pace in Thursday's Liberty League game against visiting Holy Martyrs Armenian.

The Cougars made four shots from the field and four more from the free-throw line in the opening quarter, as they scored 12 points in a fast-paced game.

PHOTOS: Glendale Adventist Academy vs. Holy Martyrs girls' basketball

Their quick start continued in the opening minutes of the second quarter, as six consecutive points gave the Cougars a seven-point lead and frustrated their league opponent.

But then, their shots stopped falling in the last four minutes of the second quarter. Those struggles carried through all of the third quarter and halfway through the fourth.

Glendale Adventist didn't hit a field goal for 16 minutes and couldn't stop Holy Martyrs, falling, 34-26.

"We had the open looks," said Glendale Adventist first-year Coach Joseph Naguit, a former assistant on the Cougars' boys' basketball squad. "The ball wouldn't fall in. It's the nature of the beast. We had so many great looks. We wish we had a magic potion. We're still looking for it."

The Cougars' quick start was led by Madi Federicci, a senior, who scored seven points in the opening quarter.

But Glendale Adventist (4-4, 0-3 in league) combined to score seven points in the following two quarters, as Holy Martyrs erased the Cougars' 18-11 lead and took a 24-19 advantage after three quarters.

Federicci scored her team's only point in the third quarter, making the second of her free throws with three minutes to play in the quarter. She also ended her team's field-goal drought with a steal and driving layup with 4:52 remaining in the fourth. The Cougars had missed their first 16 shots of the second half until Federicci made her basket.

Federicci's layup was the Cougars' only field goal of the second half, as Glendale Adventist finished one of 21 in the half and eight of 52 for the game.

"It's the game of basketball," said Federicci, who finished with a game-high 13 points and nine rebounds. "The shots don't always fall. We have to be patient and keep moving the ball. We will definitely push harder next time."

Holy Martyrs (8-6, 2-1) made 10 field goals during the Cougars' struggles from the field, with Aline Tchorbajian leading her team with nine points. Natalie Karamardian, Galy Kuyumjian and Aleek Terterian had six points apiece for Holy Martyrs.

Melisa Lopez had five points and Brittney Gregg and Alexa Jacinto each had four points for the Cougars — ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division VI — who'll look to pick up their first league win when they play host to Archer School for Girls on Tuesday.

Jacinto added 11 rebounds and a pair of steals.