Glendale girls’ basketball holds on for longtime-coming win over Crescenta Valley

LA CRESCENTA — Two days after being knocked flat to the canvas in a 20-point home loss, the Glendale High girls' basketball team responded with grit, energy and just enough hustle.

What resulted was a rare win as the visiting Nitros defeated host Crescenta Valley, 42-41, in overtime in Pacific League play on Wednesday afternoon.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak against Crescenta Valley for Glendale, which last won a contest in the series back in January of 2013.

Perhaps more importantly for Nitros Coach Tadeh Mardirosian, his team was redeemed in improving to 12-7 and 3-1 in league.

"It's awesome," Mardirosian said of the victory, which came after his team's lackluster 52-32 home defeat to Burbank on Monday. "We talked about heart, character and ethics coming into this game. We didn't have the heart on Monday and to come back and do this, I'm so proud of them."

Senior guard Merina Latu led Glendale with 14 points and was one of three players in double digits along with Jillian Yanai and Sylvia Vartazarian, who added 11 points each.

Sophomore guard Caity Bouchard scored a game-high 16 points for Crescenta Valley (11-6, 3-1), which certainly had its chances. Denise Dayag added seven points for the Falcons.

The contest was tied at 33 at the end of regulation and Glendale took the lead for good on a runner from Latu with 1:42 left in overtime that put the Nitros ahead, 40-38.

The basket was sandwiched between a pair of turnovers for the Falcons, who pulled within 40-39 when Bouchard hit one of two free throws with 50 seconds left.

Though Yanai missed a straightaway three-pointer on Glendale's next possession, Nitros center Cynthia Zamora came up with an offensive rebound and put-back score with 30 seconds left to represent the senior's only two points of the contest.

"It felt great to get that basket," said Zamora, who finished with two offensive rebounds and three overall boards and one assist in overtime. "I felt like I really helped the team a lot and we all worked hard together as a team to win."

With Crescenta Valley trailing, 42-39, the Falcons also missed a game-tying three-pointer but found hope when Bouchard responded with an offensive rebound and score with four seconds left to bring the home team within one point.

Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez then called timeout and the break paid off when Falcons sophomore Georgina Kregorian picked off the inbound pass near mid-court.

Kregorian found senior Polin Megerdichian, who drove the baseline and had a last-second attempt altered and ultimately fall short when she collided with Glendale's Claire Yanai as time expired.

"To win here is really nice," Vartazarian said. "Especially after Monday, we came in here focused and I said there was no way we were losing this game. We needed it."

It appeared Crescenta Valley had the momentum heading into overtime.

The Falcons trailed by two with under a minute left in the fourth quarter and missed knotting the score on two consecutive shots.

A steal, however, led to a game-tying lay-up from Bouchard with 35 seconds left.

Vartazarian missed a jumper the other way and the teams needed another four minutes to decide a close game.

Crescenta Valley led, 13-7, after the first quarter and, 19-17, at the half before holding a 28-26 advantage through three quarters.

Despite a lay-up sending his team into overtime, Perez said it was Crescenta Valley's point-blank misses that proved to be the team's undoing.

"We missed seven lay-ups tonight, six of them that were uncontested," Perez said. "We missed six easy lay-ups in overtime that's decided by one point. We held a good team to 33 points, but we missed six lay-ups. That's the difference."