LA CRESCENTA — For nearly a decade of girls’ Pacific League basketball, Burroughs had made the annual trip to Crescenta Valley and left victorious, but this season the Falcons would have none of it.
Despite trailing for the majority of the contest, host Crescenta Valley broke through late to earn a 46-43 win over the visiting Indians on Tuesday in Pacific League play.
“What happened today is [my team] grew up and stepped up,” Falcons coach Jason Perez said.
With the win, Crescenta Valley (6-5, 2-1) ended the Indians’ nine-game winning streak on the Falcons’ home court. It was the first loss of the season for Burroughs (9-1, 2-1), which came in ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division II-AA.
Until the final minutes of the contest the Indians had done just enough to stay ahead of the Falcons. But that changed with just under two minutes to go when Georgina Kregorian threaded a pass in to Caity Bouchard, who scored inside. It was the hosts’ first lead of the game at 38-37 and Crescenta Valley held the advantage until the final buzzer.
“We kind of realized we had to kick it into gear if we wanted to win and we really do,” Bouchard said. “This was just a really big win for us.”
Barely a minute into the fourth quarter, Indians Kayla Wrobel was fouled on a put-back attempt before sinking two from the free-throw line. It pushed the visitors’ advantage to their largest of the game at nine, 35-26. However, the Falcons then went on an 8-0 run spearheaded by Bouchard, who had five of the points.
Indians Faith Boulanger stopped the bleeding with an offensive rebound and a basket, but the Falcons kept at it, scoring the next nine points, and in the process, taking the lead and building a six-point cushion.
A corner three from Burroughs’ Camryn Lotka with 11 seconds left cut the deficit to three, but Falcons Denise Dayag followed with one of two free throws and the Indians ran out of time.
“In the third and fourth quarters, especially the fourth quarter, we started going to the basket, making shots [and] hitting free throws,” Perez said. “That’s really what you’ve got to do.”
Crescenta Valley doubled up Burroughs in the final stanza, 20-10. As the Falcons came on, the Indians faded, making just three of 13 shots, going three of eight from the line and making key turnovers down the stretch.
Crescenta Valley was led throughout by the senior duo of Kregorian and Bouchard. Kregorian led all scorers with 19 points, including her team’s first five points of the game and the Falcons’ first seven points after halftime.
“The middle definitely [was where I could attack], because on the weak side they are always on help defense,” Kregorian said. “So when the ball is swung the middle is wide open. That is where I got most of my layups.”
Bouchard came on late, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the second half, including eight in the final quarter.
Burroughs was led in the scoring department by Wrobel, who put up 13. The sophomore scored seven of her team’s 12 points in the third. The only other Indian in double figures was Boulanger with 11, but the sophomore was saddled with foul trouble, limiting her effectiveness.
“My best player [Boulanger] got in foul trouble. That was one of the problems,” Burroughs coach Vicky Oganyan said. “I thought we didn’t play a very good offensive game. We had some mistakes, but whatever mistakes we had I really feel are my responsibility.
“So I think we’re going to be fine. We’ll look at some film and I will fix some things. It’s disappointing, but at the same time we have a lot of games left.”
The teams will meet again on Jan. 22 at Burroughs, where Crescenta Valley won in overtime last season.