Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball lets one slip against Muir

LA CRESCENTA — Things appeared to be under control for the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team in the fourth quarter of its Pacific League game Friday evening against Muir.

The Falcons had a 16-point lead with just over six minutes left in the game and had seized all the momentum of what was a tight contest through the first half.

But the Mustangs battled their way back, tied the score in regulation and put the host Falcons away in overtime, 73-68.

The game was a battle for second place in league. With two games to play in the regular season, Crescenta Valley (16-8, 8-4 in league) fell to third place, one game behind second-place Muir (16-8, 9-3).

Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian was left with some unanswered questions after this team's loss.

"I thought that Muir outplayed us, I thought Muir wanted it more than we did and Muir deserved to win that game," he said. "You have to take your hat off to Muir. They played their butts off and when it came to overtime they dominated us.

"I don't know what it was with our team in this one. We seemed to be playing like we were behind when we were in front. I think maybe sometimes in tough situations their minds start to drift and they don't stick to the game plan."

The Falcons received 19 points from Journey Shank and 18 points from Trey Ballard.

Crescenta Valley made a move on the Mustangs early in the fourth quarter. When Shank scored a bucket on a layup with 6:22 remaining in the game, the Falcons increased their lead to 50-34. But Muir seemed to flip a switch and Crescenta Valley looked powerless to stop it.

The Mustangs embarked on a 20-4 run to knot the score at 54 with 2:44 remaining. Things remained tight late in the fourth and both teams missed shots in in final seconds as regulation ended with things tied at 56.

Muir jumped out to a seven-point lead in overtime, 67-60. The Falcons were able to whittle the advantage down to two, 70-68, after Shank drained a straight-away three-pointer with 20 seconds left. But the Mustangs sank free throws in the final seconds to complete the comeback.

"I am extremely proud of the way that we were able to come back and that we never gave up," Muir Coach Simaine Stewart said. "The toughness that this team has is just something that you can't teach. However this one turned out, I was just so happy with their fight.

"We knew this was an important game because we were playing for second. We want to get second in our league because that may help us in the playoffs and we might get a home game for the first round."

Muir received 17 points from Javonte James and 16 points and 14 rebounds from Hunter Woods.

It was a tight first half, as the score was tied at 9 after one quarter and Crescenta Valley held a slight advantage after two, 25-23.

The Falcons made a move in the third quarter, outscoring the Mustangs, 19-10, and went into the fourth with a 44-33 lead.