Crescenta Valley cruises to win without key players

BURBANK — Being without three of its projected starters for the upcoming season during the summer didn’t seem to hurt the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team a bit in Burroughs Summer League play on Tuesday.

The remaining Falcons, with a little help from some players called up from junior varsity, soundly defeated Simi Valley, 51-19, behind the kind of balanced scoring and active defense that might make it a pretty interesting summer after all.

“We’re not so worried about winning games, we’re worried about playing well and playing well for entire games,” said Falcons Coach Jason Perez, who is missing All-Area first-team pick Cassie Pappas for the summer due to travel commitments, forward Melanie Samvalian indefinitely with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and guard Melanie Minas for three weeks with a meniscus injury. “The balanced scoring is key from kids who are gonna be role players [during the regular season]. If they can score 16 in a [summer] game, when we get everybody out there, they can definitely come off the bench and score eight.”

Crescenta Valley was led by Alin Megerdichian with 16 points and Sarah Yoon chipped in 11 on four-for-four shooting from the field, while five other Falcons got in on the scoring.

The Falcons went up early, 10-0, on a steal and layup by Yoon at the 10:30 mark and finished the first half on a 20-2 run.

Steals ignited a 9-0 run within that surge, as Katherine Davis fed Natalia Ratovosian for a layup off a steal in the open floor before Ratovosian rattled off consecutive layups created by her own takeaways.

In all, the Falcons came away with 19 steals on the day, led by Ratovosian with six.

“We didn’t let Simi do what they wanted to do and that took them out of their comfort zone,” Perez said. “I was real happy with the defense.”

The Falcons went up by 30 on consecutive hoops by Megerdichian (four steals) to open the second half and led by as many as 34 after a three-pointer by Davis widened the gap to 43-9 with 10 minutes left in the game.

Simi Valley, which committed 27 total turnovers, went on a 7-0 run over a five-minute period late in the half.

Crescenta Valley also got six points and four rebounds from Ratovosian and five points and four points, respectively, from Davis and Samira Seraji, both of whom were called up from junior varsity.

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