Crescenta Valley delivers in the clutch

BURBANK — There have been a number of times this season in which the Crescenta Valley girls' basketball team has found itself with its back up against the wall.

And after watching a big lead slowly dissipate at the hands of host Burroughs on Friday night, the Falcons found themselves in another tight spot.

Burroughs had just taken a three-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and appeared to have all the momentum.

But the Falcons weathered the storm to score six straight points, including two tough hoops from Cassie Pappas, and take a lead they would never relinquish en route to a 47-41 Pacific League victory.

“What I'm ecstatic about is that our kids came out and had to overcome adversity again,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez, whose club improved to 17-8 overall and 7-5 in league play. “We had a lot of foul trouble after we jumped out to that big lead, and other kids are just stepping up.”

The sophomore Pappas was her usual clutch self, pouring in a game-high 22 points, including eight big points in the fourth quarter, and hauling down 10 rebounds.

Burroughs (16-9, 9-3) was paced by guard Samantha Cross, who finished with a team-high 13 points. Cross, however, struggled from the outside, hitting just one of her eight three-point tries, as Crescenta Valley's Stephanie Ziemann blanketed her defensively all night.

“We just couldn't make some plays,” said Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan, whose team entered Friday's game on a four-game winning streak. “We had the opportunity to win it, but couldn't make the plays.”

Crescenta Valley came out hot in the first quarter, building up a 17-6 lead behind six points from Pappas and Ziemann.

Burroughs stormed right back in the second quarter thanks to a 12-0 run to start the quarter and went into the half trailing just 25-22. Indians center Paislee Holgate, who finished with 14 rebounds, pulled down several key offensive boards during the stretch.

A Melissa Tjoelker layup in the third quarter off a pretty jump pass from Alexis Balina put the Falcons up 33-30 and was one of many big plays the Falcons' bench made.

“Melissa has come in and is just giving us great minutes,” said Perez, who got five points and nine rebounds from Lorrin Cheeney. “She didn't play much the first 16 games, but last three or four she's come in and given us phenomenal minutes.”

The game swayed back and forth in the fourth, with the lead changing hands four times.

A backdoor layup from Cross and an offensive rebound putback by Ashley Alexander put the Indians up 40-37.

But the Falcons got a layup from Balina and two tough jumpers from Pappas to surge ahead and never look back.

“They went out there and didn't panic and were able to pull it out,” Perez said. “It was a big game.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World