BURBANK HIGH — Playoff spots were sewn up a while back by the Crescenta Valley and Burbank high girls’ basketball teams.
Entering the final week of the regular season, the teams are now busy jockeying for position in the Pacific League. Burbank turned to a key athlete to make the standings a bit more clear Tuesday night.
Junior guard Kristin Crawford had a team-high 14 points and four assists to carry host Burbank to a 47-40 victory against Crescenta Valley.
Burbank (19-7, 10-3 in league) will enter Thursday’s road matchup against cross-town rival Burroughs no worse than tied for second. Crescenta Valley (17-9, 7-6) will finish fourth behind Muir, Burbank and Burroughs with its last league contest at Arcadia on Thursday.
Crawford made three crucial free throws in the final minute to help the Bulldogs sweep the two-game season series against the Falcons. Burbank posted a 59-50 road victory against Crescenta Valley on Jan. 15.
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs limited the Falcons to two points in the game’s final 4 minutes and 11 seconds to help distance themselves from CV.
“We had to play tough defense, rebound and not give up any easy baskets,” said Burbank Coach Bruce Breeden, who coached at Crescenta Valley from 2000-04. “We had to extend CV’s offense.
“CV did a good job with its half-court offense, and it was hard for us to get a rhythm.”
Crescenta Valley sophomore guard Cassie Pappas completed a three-point play to tie the game at 38 with 4:11 remaining. However, a three-point play by Burbank’s Kendra Carter made it 41-38 with 3:26 left to ignite the Bulldogs.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, they struggled on offense in the fourth quarter. Crescenta Valley managed just 10 points in the final eight minutes.
“We just got to hit those shots,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said. “We missed six or seven layups in the game, and that’s what it came down to.
“We did everything well except put the ball in the basket.”
Crawford said she struggled during the first part of the season with her free-throw shooting. That changed recently when she participated in a free-throw shooting team fundraiser in January, when she had to make 100 free throws.
“I got into a rhythm, and that’s helped me since,” Crawford said.