BURBANK — For a span of 7 minutes, 36 seconds in the Pacific League boys’ basketball contest Thursday, the Crescenta Valley High and Burbank teams had had varying experiences.
The Falcons opened the third quarter with a hot hand on their way to scoring 21 unanswered points during the spurt.
On the other end, the Bulldogs were trying to find a way to break not only the visitors’ momentum, but end their scoring drought for more than seven and a half minutes.
Backed by a game-high 21 points from Falcons senior Danny Khani, Crescenta Valley’s defense dominated the third quarter to set up a 66-43 league victory against host Burbank.
“We talked at halftime with our coaching staff and we thought that our diamond press was giving up too many easy shots,” Crescenta Valley coach Shawn Zargarian said. “I think we gave up a couple of layups and a couple of transition threes.
“They were splitting our traps and we were giving away too much stuff. We thought that our half-court defense — when it was there — was really effective, so we just wanted to see if we could just play half-court defense. We were pretty confident we could slow them down and it showed. They had a hard time scoring against our defense.”
The Falcons went into halftime with a 30-29 lead before Khani opened up the third quarter with a shot from three and followed it up with a three-point play to give the Falcons (8-2, 2-1 in league) a six-point advantage.
The senior then handed it off to sophomore Allen Boghassian for another three-pointer for a 9-0 run to start the second half.
After Khani sank a pair of free throws, Falcons senior Tyler Carlson scored his first three-pointer since the first quarter for a 44-29 Falcons advantage.
Burbank sophomore Phoenix Mosley had a chance to get the Bulldogs (2-8, 1-2) on the board with a pair of free-throws with 52.9 left, but missed both attempts.
“It was our defensive intensity,” said Khani of the third quarter. “Once we started stringing multiple shots together, everybody just started getting hyped up and started picking each other up. Once we got excited and once we got into the game, it just elevated from us and they couldn’t score on us. Everything was going our way.”
After a three-pointer from Crescenta Valley senior Armen Avaness with 46 seconds left in the third for a 51-32 lead, Burbank senior Kourosh Dolatshani scored the Bulldogs’ only points in the quarter with a three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining.
“Crescenta Valley came out hard,” said Burbank coach Sid Cooke, who is in his first season with Burbank. “I think it was basically us. We didn’t execute. We wanted to do our own thing.
“Give Crescenta Valley credit. They played good defense. I think our guys just didn’t want to do what we asked them to, and that was executing certain offensive sets and certain plays, and [we] just got away with it.”
Khani scored eight points in the third, after tallying eight in the first half, and finished with five assists.
“My coaches told me to space the floor and just attack,” Khani said. “Once the floor is spaced out and I have an open lane, I’d attack. Either it draws a second defender and I can kick it out to my teammate, get fouled or finish at the basket.”
Carlson added 10 points, five assists and five steals and Falcons center Evan Manjikian contributed eight points and nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs were led by Mosley with eight points, all in the second quarter. Bulldogs senior Kevin Sarkes and junior Abiel Pearl each scored seven points.
The Falcons knocked down two three-pointers to start the game and jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs stormed back to tie it at 8 with 2:47 left on a Elmer Reyes basket.
A three-pointer from Pearl gave Burbank a brief lead, 11-10, before Gavin Shagohian scored Crescenta Valley’s final five points for a Falcons 15-11 advantage at the end of the first.
“The focus wasn’t there,” Cooke said. “We had great focus in the first half and we just walked into the third quarter and that was it. It was too late.”
The Bulldogs hit consecutive threes from junior Vartan Avetisyan and senior Ben Burnham to tie it at 17 to open the second quarter.
Khani responded and scored the Falcons next six points and assisted on a basket for a 25-22 advantage with 2:31 left in the half.
“As a three-year varsity basketball player, especially being our starting guard last year, he has a lot of experience,” said Zargarian of Khani. “Games like this don’t rattle him. It’s part of what he does. I thought he did such a good job attacking the paint and getting to the rim, and that allowed him to knock down a couple of threes.
“They were denying him of playing Tyler’s side so hard, it created some driving opportunities for him. Credit to Tyler. He was unselfish and didn’t pout. He found his teammates and got guys shots. It was an all-around effort by our guys tonight.”
A three from Mosley cut the Crescenta Valley lead to 30-29 at the break.
Manjikian scored six points in the fourth quarter for Crescenta Valley, while Sarkes added five points for the Bulldogs near the end of regulation.