It’s quite likely Burbank High’s Osanna Tirityan and Glendale’s Jillian Yanai are the two best female basketball players in the Pacific League.
On Friday night, these two faced each other and neither disappointed, but it was Yanai’s co-game-high 14 points and nine rebounds that helped push the host Nitros past the Bulldogs, 55-44.
Tirityan, a junior shooting guard and All-CIF Southern Section selection, had 11 points after scoring two points at the intermission.
Junior power forward Sofia Aslanyan added a team-best 12 points for Burbank, which made 13 of 48 of its shots from the field for 27 percent.
“We beat them pretty handily last year both times,” Burbank coach John Wells said. “We were the one team that handled Glendale with 18-point and 20-point losses last year. They wanted it. They came out and played us tough.”
Yanai, a senior shooting guard, was held scoreless in the first quarter as the Nitros led 12-9 heading into the second frame, but exploded for eight points that included a three-pointer, as Glendale seized control 24-19 at halftime after drilling 10 of 28.
Sophomore power forward Mary Markaryan also scored 14 points with nine caroms for the Nitros and junior point guard Meri Chebishian tossed in 13 points, with two shots coming from three-point range.
Glendale’s best quarter was the third when it canned seven of 16 from the floor and four of seven from the free-throw line, and took a 44-31 advantage into the fourth period.
Glendale made 11 of 19 (57.8 percent) of its free throws and Burbank hit 15 of 24 (62.5 percent).
Sophomore center Melissa Zamora accounted for all of her six points in the third quarter for the Nitros (10-6 and 2-0 in league), who outscored the Bulldogs 20-12.
“We’re a young team with the exception of Jillian and Lilia [Vasghanian], who are returners,” Glendale coach Tadeh Mardirosian said. “When we’re young we try to use our speed and our momentum and our youth to get the opposing teams on their heels.”
Vasghanian scored four points for the Nitros, who advanced to the CIF Division II-A semifinals last season, that included a three-pointer in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs were sloppy with the ball, turning it over 19 times while the Nitros had 10.
Burbank (6-10 and 1-1 in league) limited Glendale to 11 points in the fourth quarter on three of 13 from the floor, but five of eight from the charity line, while scoring 13 points on three of 13 from the field and seven of nine free throws.
“We had a really good preseason.” Mardirosian said. “Whatever we lack in skill, we make up with heart. With the leadership of Jillian Yanai, we keep the momentum and keep pace. She’s our floor general. She’s a coach on the floor.”
Tirityan came out and passed the ball in the opening half, even though she’s capable of tallying double-digits every game.
“That’s every team’s mentality in the league,” Wells said of Glendale’s effort to halt Tirityans’s offensive prowess. “We didn’t step on the floor ready in the first quarter and it showed.”
With only two points in the first quarter and being blanked in the second frame, Tirityan, who pulled down nine rebounds, scored four points in the third quarter and five points in the final frame.
When Burbank sophomore point guard Brianna Castro (eight points) nailed a three-pointer with 6:05 left in the second quarter, Glendale’s lead was sliced to 16-14.
With 6:25 remaining in the third quarter, a hoop from Chebishian pushed the Nitros (20 of 57 for 35 percent) ahead 29-23.