PASADENA — A three-minute and 37-second scoring drought was the undoing of the Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team in Friday’s Pacific League road challenge at Pasadena High.
The Falcons briefly pulled ahead only to surrender nine straight points and fall, 65-57, at Hamilton Gymnasium.
“On the road at Pasadena, you know you get that three-minute drought and that’s it,” Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. “Our kids played with so much effort and heart tonight. It’s one of those locker rooms where it’s tough to get in there and have words for them. It’s one of those game where again, I’m very proud of them, but we just came up short.”
Meetings with Pasadena have determined the top two spots in the league’s hierarchy the last three years. However, that may not be the case this season with Burroughs (5-0 in league) having defeated both the Bulldogs and Falcons this week.
The goal of staying within a game of the Indians fell through the hands of the Falcons (9-8, 3-2) just as it seemed the squad was surging.
Crescenta Valley trailed, 49-46, after three quarters, but pulled even with defending league champion Pasadena (9-8, 4-1) on a three-pointer from senior guard Eric Bae at 6:49. The Falcons then took their first and only lead of the contest, 51-49, on a layup from Berj Krikorian, who was assisted on a steal from junior guard Kyle Currie with 6:28 remaining.
Krikorian appeared to be fouled on his follow through and came down hard after the make, which led to a small stoppage in time.
Perhaps the break benefited Pasadena, which answered with a game-changing 9-0 run as the Falcons committed two turnovers and missed four consecutive shots, including two threes over their next six possessions during the six-minute drought.
Meanwhile Pasadena received a jumper from senior guard Ajon Efferson, who led all players with 27 points and five assists, and a free throw on the Bulldogs’ next possession to take a 52-51 lead.
Momentum didn’t swing to Pasadena, though, until a thunderous putback dunk from sophomore Tyrek Adams off a missed jumper from Jordan Moses with 4:47 remaining, which put the Bulldogs ahead, 54-51.
“CV is a great team and CV is always going to push and always going to test to see how good you are and how well you know the game,” said Pasadena first-year Coach Tony Brooks, who replaced longtime fixture Tim Tucker. “We knew it was going to be tough and we focused on our defense and were able to make a run because of the defense.”
The spurt was finally capped on a pair of free throws from Efferson at 3:21 as Pasadena took its largest lead of the game, 58-51.
Crescenta Valley finally answered back by going inside to senior forward Eric Patten, who was fouled and sank two free throws with 2:51 remaining in the game to bring the Falcons within five.
Thirty seconds latter, Patten, who did not attempt a field goal in the fourth, was again fouled and sank two more free throws to close the visitor’s deficit to three.
Unfortunately for Crescent Valley, that’s as close as it got, as the Bulldogs followed with a layup from Adams (17 points and nine rebounds) with 2:03 left to go back up by five. A minute later, Patten picked up his second offensive foul of the quarter and fifth personal foul overall, which ended his night.
“I’m proud of our teammates, we handled pressure but road games are tough,” said Patten, who led the Falcons with 22 points and 10 rebounds. “You just have to understand that you’re not going to get calls on the road and it’s really tough to pick up two offensive fouls and get sent out of the game.”
Pasadena led, 21-17, after one quarter over the Falcons, who were paced by Currie, who scored all six of his points in the quarter.
“First time playing at Pasadena is something. My brother (Cole Currie) always told me that this is a place where you get rattled and it wasn’t easy,” Currie said.
After falling behind, 36-31, at the half, the Falcons tied the game at 40 on a three-pointer from Bae (eight points) at 4:14 in the third, but never did pull ahead in that quarter.
Adams put Pasadena up, 49-46, before the close of the third on another dunk, this with 2.1 seconds left, which was followed by a free throw as Adams was fouled by Patten.
“If there’s good news it’s that we get them and Burroughs at our place next,” Patten said. “Those will be huge games.”