SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Inconsistency has plagued the Glendale High girls' basketball team for much of the season.
Just as a lack of depth and inexperience has hampered Muir.
“That is our biggest problem is staying consistent with how we play,” said Glendale Coach Tania Adary.
Adary’s Nitros (10-7, 3-3 in league) saw the Mustangs (6-8, 1-5) build a 15-7 lead early in the second quarter, thanks in large part to Muir’s size advantage on the boards and its free-throw shooting. But a six-point burst cut Muir’s lead to one and for the remainder of the second period, it was a back-and-forth battle.
A drive from Tara Abdul Ahad from the three-point line tied the game at 23 with 43 seconds to go in the half, before the game’s biggest turning point came when Glendale’s Ellin Avanessian hit a spot-up three-pointer at the buzzer for a 26-23 lead the Nitros would never relinquish.
“[That was big], for her especially, she needed that,” said Adary of Avanessian, who hit a three-pointer for the second half’s first points and also opened the fourth quarter with a three, as she finished with 11 points. “She needed that for her confidence.”
Glendale was led by Kristineh Zadourian, who finished with 11 points, nine assists and three steals. Erlin Keshishzadeh had a team-high 13 points to go with four steals.
Muir, which has just seven players and no seniors on the roster, also suffered from depth on the court, as just three Mustangs scored, with Hope Peron scoring a game-high 19 points. Tierra Adams had 18 and 10 rebounds and Channon Fluker had four points and seven rebounds.
“We’re up and down, we’re inexperienced,” Muir Coach Gary Johnson said. “Some of the girls are out of shape, so they’re only good for three or four minutes at a time.”
Muir went 11 for 16 from the line in the first half, while Glendale was six for eight, but the teams went to the charity stripe just once each in the second half.
A six-point run from the Mustangs in the third quarter evened the game at 29, but the Nitros found their rhythm again and scored six straight of their own to go back up, 35-29.
The Mustangs’ last run came when Peron hit a jumper to cut it to 35-31 and Adams followed with a layup to bring Muir within a bucket at 35-33. But another Nitros make at the buzzer, this time on a runner by Amanda Manzanians, put Glendale ahead, 37-33.
Muir drew within four points in the fourth quarter, but the Nitros outscored the Mustangs, 8-3, over the final 2:09 to salt away the game.
“We picked up the pressure on defense and tried to get them tired and take advantage of it,” Adary said.
It was the third loss in a row for a Mustangs team that will also incur the loss of Johnson at season’s end, the 13-year coach said.
“It’s time for me to go,” Johnson said. “I think the girls need somebody to get them over the hump and right now they’re tuning me out.
“They’ve got an upside, they’re young.”
Muir will face archrival Pasadena on Friday, while Glendale faces rival Hoover.