After easily disposing of the Tornadoes by a combined 54 points in its first two meeting this season, the Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball team had to wait until the game’s final 5.4 seconds to secure a 45-41 victory in a Pacific League game at Hoover High on Wednesday.
Senior point guard Narbeh Ebrahimian, the only Falcon to score in double-figures, paced Crescenta Valley (14-9, 7-4 in league) with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The lackluster performance was disappointing to Falcons Head Coach Shawn Zargarian, even with junior forward Coltrane Powdrill missing a second consecutive game due to a knee injury.
“I’m not sure anything really worked for us,” said Zargarian. “I think down the stretch we made some key defensive stops, we secured some rebounds and we were fortunate to make a couple free throws down at the end, but nothing special tonight.”
In a game featuring 12 lead changes and nine ties, the Falcons found themselves in a hotly contested match against the only team in the Pacific League without a conference victory this season.
Trailing 44-41 with 21 seconds remaining, the Tornadoes (5-18, 0-11) had a chance to force overtime after Falcons’ junior forward Nick Dragovich missed a three-pointer.
After calling a timeout, Samson Injigulyan passed up an open three-point jumper to pass the ball to Sevada Minassians, who missed an off-balance 10-foot jumper. The Falcons rebounded with five seconds remaining, and Brent Bowers converted one of two free-throws to secure the victory for Crescenta Valley.
One minute earlier, Ebrahimian gave the Falcons a three-point lead after nailing a pair of free-throws.
While the win comes as a relief for Crescenta Valley, Zargarian is concerned about his the poor timing of his team’s effort and mentality.
“I really think that our guys came into this game kind of thinking we beat them by whatever last time and we’re gonna just come out and coast,” he said. “It’s late in the season to have to worry about that.”
Entering the fourth quarter with a 35-33 lead, the Tornadoes offense managed just six points in the final frame. Hoover enjoyed its last lead until the 4:30 mark of the fourth, when Bowers converted the go-ahead three-pointer to give the Falcons a 40-38 lead.
Senior guard Eric Yoo’s mid-range jumper gave Crescenta Valley a 42-38 lead, though Injigulyan’s three-pointer with 1:53 remaining brought the Tornadoes within one point.
However, the Falcons defense increased the pressure, and Hoover failed to get a good shot off the rest of the way.
“It all comes down to where you’re gonna get open and what kind of shot you’re gonna get,” Hoover Coach Henrik Sardarbegian said.
The Tornadoes were led by Injigulyan, who had 13 points. Both he and Ebrahimian were the only two players to score in double-figures.
Until Yoo’s jumper with 3:18 remaining, neither team led by more than three points.
Crescenta Valley is currently in fourth place in the Pacific League, though its next two opponents are against teams just ahead of them in the standings — Burbank and Burroughs — meaning second place is still up for grabs for the Falcons.