LA CRESCENTA — Five games into the Pacific League girls’ basketball schedule, Crescenta Valley High sat in second place with one loss .
To stay there the host Falcons needed to beat Pasadena, which was the team that had handed them their lone league setback.
Trailing by a large margin with minutes to go, Crescenta Valley mounted a frantic comeback attempt, but came up just short, falling to the visiting Bulldogs, 62-59, on Friday.
“We woke up in the fourth because [the girls] saw it slipping away and they tried to go back and get it,” Crescenta Valley coach Jason Perez said. “The problem was for three quarters we were giving [the game] to them. We gave [Pasadena] that game. We turned the ball over badly, didn’t box out, we played bad defense at times.”
Kamesha Moore hit two free throws to put Pasadena (7-3, 5-1 in league) up by 18 with 4:47 to play. That was when Crescenta Valley (10-8, 4-2) promptly went on a 13-0 run.
“What changed in the fourth quarter was the girls saw the game slipping away from them. They saw the league championship possibly slipping away from them and they woke up and started to play,” Perez said. “We started to press, we started to trap and do some different things. ”
It started with a three-pointer by Denise Dayag off an assist by Caity Bouchard. Following a Pasadena turnover, Bouchard assisted on another make from beyond the arc setting up Georgina Kregorian for three. Then, after a Bulldog miss, Bouchard put in a layup on the fast break. The next points were another three-pointer from Kregorian, who connected from the right side.
Pasadena got a lay-in off an inbounds to break the run, but CV scored the next six points to pull within one. The burst started with a pair of Bouchard free throws. The next points came off the hands of Dayag, who drew connect in the lane before making a circus shot with her right hand as she went to the ground. The junior than made the free throw. Mari Lee than stole the ball, after which Kregorian drove to the hoop and got fouled.
With 1:01 to go, Kregorian made her first free throw to pull within one, 56-55. Just before the second try, as the senior was handed the ball, Pasadena coach Melissa Sanchez called a timeout.
“I don’t know what it is with these officials,” Perez said. “A kid is shooting a free throw and then they blow the whistle because the [Pasadena] coach is calling a timeout. I mean it killed. We could have tied the game up right there.”
Kregorian missed the second free throw. Pasadena made a bucket, but soon after fouled Lee beyond the arc giving the hosts a chance to tie the game from the line with 35 seconds left. However, Lee missed all three.
It was then Alin Mazmanian’s chance and she hit one of two free throws to make the score 58-56 with 27 seconds to go.
Moore than made one of two from the line, but the Bulldogs got the rebound on the miss. Moore than hit one of two again. She than stole the ball away, missed a shot, made another steal, missed wildly, wrestled the ball away again and finally hit two ensuing free throws to push the margin to 62-56 with eight seconds left.
“I knew [CV] was going to come out and make adjustments to what we were doing. We took us a little too long to fix our mistakes,” Sanchez said of the near fourth quarter collapse. “We got a little in our heads. So, I definitely was nervous.”
Kregorian drained a three-pointer as the horn sounded to set the final margin.
Kregorian led the Falcons in scoring with 11 of her 18 points coming in the fourth. Bouchard had eight of 13 points in the fourth. Dayag had 12, with eight coming in the final stanza and Lee had 12 points, on the strength of four three-pointers.
Moore led all scorers with 28 points, including 10 in the fourth as the Bulldogs foiled the CV comeback effort. The junior point guard also had 10 steals.
“When we need [Moore] she is more than happy to put the team on her back and get them going again,” Sanchez said.
The Falcons now have eight Pacific games left starting with Glendale on the road Tuesday.