Spartans goalkeeper Jack Hale held Eastside scoreless in the semifinals, forcing a 0-0 tie on Dec. 29. It was good for his seventh shutout of the season, and the tie pushed La Cañada into the championship game against Irvine on Dec. 30.
Armand Bagramyan revived the Spartans' offense in the championship contest. He scored both of La Cañada's goals in a 2-1 victory over the Vaqueros.
Bagramyan finished the tournament with three goals and three assists. Matthew Canatta and Cameron Meeker led the Spartans in goals in the four-game spa, with four apiece.
"We didn't win the tournament last year, and this was one of the things we needed to improve upon this year," Coach Barry Ritson said. "That's the main motivating factor for these guys. We were very good last year, but can we be better?"
The La Cañada boys' basketball team lost its first game of the season when Mike McGlashan, the team's leading scorer (averaging 16.1 points a game) sprained his ankle in the third round of the tournament against Montebello. He played through the pain, putting up 12 points, but the Spartans still fell to eventual tournament champion Montebello, 53-49.
Although the Spartans were unable to pull out the win against the Oilers after McGlashan's injury, they were able to pull out a 51-46 victory against St. Francis on Dec. 30 — without their star guard on the floor. The win earned La Cañada a third-place finish in the La Salle/Temple City Holiday Classic.
"That was a very good win for us," Coach Tom Hofman said. "I think we really needed that because we didn't want to go into league with a losing streak."
Fellow guard Dario CiVon took control of the offense when McGlashan was forced to the bench. CiVon scored a team-high 25 points against Montebello and 14 more against St. Francis.
La Cañada (12-1) hopes to get back McGlashan's services soon, as Hofman said he didn't think his player's injury was too serious.
"I really like this time of year coming up because you get more times for practice," Hofman said. "I think we have played about 13 games and practiced about three times this year, so it's kind of hard to get better."
Preseason woes continued for the Spartans girls' basketball team, as it finished last out of eight teams in the La Cañada New Years Ball Tournament. The Spartans lost to Burbank, 49-37, Moorpark, 45-36, Hart, 31-27, and La Salle, 54-46.
Kristene Hossepian remained the primary scoring threat for La Cañada (4-11), averaging a team-high 10.3 points in the four games. Cailan Howey averaged eight points and 7.5 rebounds in the tournament.
"This is the time where we are fine-tuning the team and getting ready for league," Coach Tamar Hill said. "It's just going to be a maturing process of getting better every day."