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Crescenta Valley girls’ basketball holds off late Providence rally

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Crescenta Valley’s Monique Arezoumanians makes an off-balance pass with Providence’s Ella Shenouda defending.
(Tim Berger \ Staff Photographer)

BURBANK — There was the physicality of the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team, and there was the speed and transition defense of Providence.

But in the end, it was aggressiveness that prevailed in a Providence Summer League game.

Behind 14 points and 15 rebounds from Falcons senior Lily Geck, Crescenta Valley fended off a late Providence scoring run to win, 35-33, at Providence on Thursday.

“Energy,” said Crescenta Valley assistant coach Mark Flot about the Falcons’ late composure. “We decided to come back and play. We came back and changed the defense to help, and knowing their offensive players were. We got a little aggressive on the defensive end. We boxed out very well — I think maybe two offensive rebounds — and with that, we adjusted.

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“We tried to play everybody, so that changed the score. We’re bringing up new people, so we wanted to make sure everybody adjusts to the summer league. To adjust, to play and see what we need to work on. Lily’s a senior, so we expect a lot from her.”

With 5:29 left in the second half, Crescenta Valley held its largest lead, 31-23, over Providence after a put-back basket from Geck.

The Pioneers then outscored the Falcons, 10-2, to finish the game, as it was Geck who grabbed the final rebound of the game.

“What we tried to do is keep composure,” Flot said. “Keep them relaxed and let them know we’re playing to learn for the future. The future is bright and these summer games let coaches coach and players play.”

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Providence started the game with with a three-pointer from Sydney Sayoc two minutes in.

Geck sparked the Falcons offense in the paint with back-to-back mid-range scores to give Crescenta Valley a 4-3 lead.

The Falcons pulled away to a four-point lead midway into the first half, but the Pioneers clawed back to tie it at 8 with 9:09 left in the half.

“At this point in the season, we have a lot of players who are learning,” Providence coach Andrew Bencze said. “It’s really hard for them to do everything that’s needed in every possession. We’re always missing a few things, whether it’s just a screen here or getting sets on defense, or whatever it is.

“In the second half, I thought we were a little more disciplined. There’s a core of four or five returners who held down the fort, defensively. Once we get that and we play a little defense, we get our transition baskets and I think that was the difference as far as our scoring.”

Crescenta Valley continued to rule the offensive glass with a put-back layup from Katrina Minassian with 7:05 left in the first half to give the Falcons a 12-10 advantage.

The teams then failed to score for five minutes, before Geck’s layup at the 2:55 mark made it 14-10.

Providence’s Ava Tubbs closed out the first-half scoring, as the Pioneers trailed the Falcons, 17-14, at the half.

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Sayoc, who led the Pioneers with 10 points, opened the second half with another three-pointer to tie it at 17 at 18:51 before Geck again regained the lead for Crescenta Valley with a basket three minutes later.

With 3:09 left in the game, Haley Laca started the Providence rally that helped cut the Crescenta Valley lead to 33-27.

Crescenta Valley senior Denise Dayag (seven points) scored the Falcons’ final basket with 2:23 left as the Pioneers scored eight unanswered points to close the game.

“There’s so much room for improvement, which excites me,” Bencze said. “There’s a lot of pieces out there that maybe didn’t play a lot of varsity minutes or played a lot of junior varsity minutes. I know where they’re going to be in three or four weeks, we’re just not there yet. It’s one of those things where you’re not ready for primetime yet, but we’re getting close.”

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