LA CRESCENTA — When Crescenta Valley High senior Stephanie Ziemann intercepted a pass and glided to an uncontested layup for the first points in Monday’s Pacific League girls’ basketball game, it was most assuradely a foreshadowing.
Behind a tenacious defensive effort, the Falcons ran away from visiting Pasadena in a 54-26 throttling at Crescenta Valley High.
“Our defense was excellent,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez, whose team improved to 15-8 overall and 7-3 in league. “Our defense has really been good all of league.”
Ziemann’s steal was the first of 17 for the Falcons, who entered Monday looking to rebound from a two-game losing skid, most notably a 35-33 loss to Glendale, and begin a stretch run for second place.
“I think we thought Friday was gonna be an easy game and it proved us wrong,” said Falcons junior Cassie Pappas, who scored a game-high 16 points. “We really wanted to bounce back today. We really want to win these final five games and get a solid second place. I think that’s why we stepped up big time today.”
For the fifth time in league play thus far, the Falcons held an opponent under 40 points. With their pesky defensive play, the Falcons held the Bulldogs (5-12, 3-7 in league) to single digits scoring in the first three quarters.
For a span of 9:37 during the first and second quarters, Pasadena didn’t make a field goal. During that time, Crescenta Valley went on a 12-3 run, extending a slim 12-8 lead after the first stanza to 18-9 late in the second quarter.
Pasadena cut the lead to 18-11 and 20-13 before Crescenta Valley scored the final eight points of the half in 1:01.
A Melanie Samvalian jumper began the run that ended with Melanie Minas and Pappas draining back-to-back three-pointers in a span of 24 seconds just before halftime, which saw a 28-13 Crescenta Valley lead.
The momentum of the 8-0 run carried over into the third quarter, as a sharp-shooting Pappas turned the contest into a laugher.
Pappas scored eight points on four straight Falcons possessions that ballooned Crescenta Valley’s lead to 40-16 as part of a 12-2 run.
“The other team was trash talking so it kind of got me fired up,” said Pappas of her hot streak in the third.
Overall, the Falcons offense was a balanced one, though, with eight players putting up points. Minas had 12 points, while Samvalian added eight.
“This is a a different team. ...Last Friday we came out very flat, very slow,” Perez said. “Today, we pretty much executed what we wanted.”
With four games and losses on Monday by Burbank and Burroughs, the Falcons have a one-game cushion in second.
“What I was happy with most was the bounceback,” Perez said. “That’s a real good sign. We might be getting back on track. We want second place, we want second place all to ourselves.”