NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The final score indicated a comfortable victory for the Glendale Community College men's basketball team.
The game wasn't as effortless as it seemed.
After building a 20-point lead, the Vaqueros saw their lead nearly evaporate against a suddenly streaking Southwestern College squad.
The Jaguars pulled to within four with 11 minutes left, forcing the Vaqueros to call a couple of timeouts to regroup.
It was the Vaqueros' second group of players that led Glendale College to an 80-64 nonconference victory Tuesday at home.
Chris Kapooshian and Isiah Howard, both reserves, combined to score 16 consecutive points for Glendale College (6-6) as the Vaqueros held back the Jaguars (7-7). Kapooshian and Howard each finished with 10 points, with all of their points coming in the second half.
"We're a good team," said Glendale College freshman Gor Plavchyan, who had a season-high 16 rebounds to go with 15 points.
"From Chris to Isiah, we have a lot of good players."
After Southwestern's Hassan Farah hit one of his five three-pointers to cut the Vaqueros' advantage to four, Glendale College Coach Brian Beauchemin called a timeout.
"We relaxed, and in this game, you can't relax," said Beauchemin, whose team will compete in the San Diego Mesa Tournament from Dec. 28-30 before Western State Conference play begins Jan. 9 against host Citrus College. "They hit shots. That's being the victim of the three."
Beauchemin kept his players on the floor, trusting them to hold off the Jaguars.
Kapooshian and Howard responded.
Howard hit a three for a seven-point lead, before a stop and a three-pointer from Kapooshian increased the lead to 10.
Another jumper from Howard and three-pointer from Kapooshian gave Glendale a 15-point lead.
"We didn't feel pressure," said Howard, who was four of six from the field. "We had to match their aggressiveness."
Southwestern could not match the play of Piachyan, out of Grant High, and Mark Hicks, a sophomore from Bethel Christian, in the first half. Hicks had 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first half.
Southwestern didn't help itself with a poor shooting performance. The Jaguars were 10 of 33 from the field in the opening half, and Glendale was 15 of 34.
"They missed a lot of shots, and they were one and done after all of them," said Beauchemin, whose team also out rebounded the Jaguars, 57-38, with Mike Johnson scoring 10 points to go with nine rebounds and Alex Bullock adding eight points and nine boards.
"We rebounded fairly well."
They started well, too, in the second half before Southwestern's 11-0 run caused the game to be closer than the Vaqueros' comfort.
That's when they needed Howard, Kapooshian and Plavchyan to step up to lead the victory that Beauchemin hopes sets the tone for the remainder of the year.
Said Beauchemin: "It gets us rolling."