Crescenta Valley basketball uses second-half dominance to defeat Burbank

BURBANK — Summer is a time to regroup for the girls’ basketball teams from Crescena Valley and Burbank highs.

The Falcons lost their share of players to graduation, including co-Pacific League Player of the Year Polin Megerdichian, after winning a league championship.

The Bulldogs return just two players from a 2016-17 season in which they tied for fifth in league and failed to qualify for the CIF playoffs.

When the teams met Wednesday in a Burbank Summer League game, Crescenta Valley appeared to be further along in its development early in the offseason, as the Falcons took advantage of Bulldogs shooting woes in the second half to secure a 33-22 victory.

Falcons coach Jason Perez has an advantage this summer that many other coaches might envy.

“We have a split team for the summer,” Perez said. “All of our players on the two teams are varsity players, but we split them between our two teams to get them as much experience as possible.

“We do have an advantage because we are very deep. We have some great guards and we are looking to see where everyone fits. We lost some key players from last year so it’s a matter of filling those spots.”

With limited returning experience, Burbank does have its best player from last season back. Junior Osanna Tirityan, an All-CIF, All-Area and all-league selection, will be looked on to carry the load for the Bulldogs.

“We lost 10 senors to graduation, including all of our starters except for Osanna,” Burbank coach John Wells said. “So it’s a matter of getting those players accustomed to the way we do things on the varsity level and working things out. But that’s what summer is for.

“Osanna knows that we are going to have to rely on her a lot this upcoming season and her game is going to have to change again, just like it did from her freshman to her sophomore season. We will look to her to be a little more ball dominant.”

Tirtyan had 10 points and eight rebounds. Sophia Aslanyan added six points and Sophia Jimenez added five.

Crescenta Valley had balanced scoring, led by sophomore Denise Dayag, who led her team with 10 points. Lauren Lundeen contributed six points and seven rebounds and Rachel Dayag and Mari Lee added six points apiece.

The teams were evenly matched in the first half, although the Bulldogs were hampered by eight turnovers in the 20-minute stanza played with a running clock. The Falcons surged in front early, taking a six-point lead, 8-2, with 15:13 remaining on a basket by Lundeen.

But Burbank made up the deficit and tied the score at 14 when Aslanyan sank a basket with 5:36 left. Crescenta Valley ended the first half on a 6-2 run and went into the half with a 20-16 lead.

“I think for summer a lot of us look to get the experience and improve individually and as a team,” Denise Dayag said. “We have some people moving up this year and joining the team so it’s just a matter of us learning how to work together.”

In the second half, Burbank had its share of struggles on offense and defense, opening the door for the Falcons. The Bulldogs missed all 11 of their shots from the field and scored all of their points on free throws. In addition, Burbank committed nine turnovers.

Despite their troubles, Burbank trailed by just two, 23-21, when Tirityan sank two free throws with 14:45 remaining in the game. But the Falcons took control and, paced by their defense, ended the contest on a 10-1 run.

jeff.tully@latimes.com

Twitter: @jefftsports

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