By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan
Zareh Avedian’s teammates knew that when the big moments arrived, the leader of the Glendale men’s basketball team that represented the Homenetmen Ararat chapter in the Pan-Armenian Games would deliver.
And did he ever deliver.
Avedian scored eight of his team’s final 15 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with less than three minutes remaining, to lead Glendale to a 92-84 victory against Beverly Hills on Saturday in the championship game at the Mika Sports Complex in Yerevan, Armenia.
“Big Z is known for coming up big,” said Avedian’s teammate, Teo Davidian, a 2014 Hoover High graduate who poured in 20 points in the final.
Davidian referred to Avedian’s memorable 49-point performance in the 2003 championship game that gave Glendale the title in the third Pan-Armenian Games.
Avedian didn’t want his last playing experience in Armenia to be remembered as a failure.
“My experience came through,” he said after arriving back home.
Before carrying his team in the final stretches of the championship game, Avedian watched Davidian and Andre Spight, who is from Burbank, dominate for the first three quarters. Spight finished with 40 points and Avedian had 14, 10 in the final frame, which also saw critical points and defensive stops from Narbeh Ebrahamian, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, and Samson Injigulyan, a Hoover High graduate.
“Andre and Teo kept us in it,” said Avedian, who is the only Glendale player remaining from the 2003 team. “If it wasn’t for them, we would’ve been blown out.”
Glendale entered the half down by three points and was playing without Zareh Zargaryan, a Hoover grad who was ejected in the second quarter after receiving a technical and a flagrant foul.
A close contest set up a thrilling final three minutes.
Beverly Hills took an 81-80 lead with 2:50 remaining as the capacity crowd watched in excitement. On the ensuing possession, Davidian drove to basket, collapsing the defense.
“When I did, I remembered I had a layup in the first half and Z told me, ‘I’m wide open on your drives,’” Davidian said.
Avedian was wide open on the right wing and Davidian found him. Avedian’s three-pointer proved to be winner.
Avedian’s defense on the other end of the court led to a traveling violation and Spight hit another three to give Glendale a five-point lead with less than two minutes left.
“It was exciting,” Avedian said. “The win was for Zareh, too. I wanted to win for him, I wanted to win for me and I wanted to win for the entire team.
“To be able to help my team win was overwhelming.”