GLENDALE — It had been quite some time since the Glendale High boys’ basketball team had defeated rival Crescenta Valley.
Crescenta Valley had gotten the best of Glendale for 18 straight meetings while sitting at or near the top of the Pacific League over the last eight seasons. Things changed dramatically Monday, when the Falcons and Nitros met at Glendale High.
Glendale received big efforts from Eli Degrate and David Shamiryan to earn a hard-fought 62-60 overtime league win and top Crescenta Valley for the first time since Jan. 9, 2009.
Degrate scored all four points in overtime for Glendale (16-7, 4-6 in league) and likely put a dent in the plans for Crescenta Valley (13-10, 6-4) to win the league championship. The Falcons trail Pasadena and Muir by three games with four games left. The Nitros are in fifth place, one game behind Burbank.
Degrade scored the winning basket with 33 seconds remaining in overtime before two shots in the last six seconds by Crescenta Valley’s Arman Pezeshkian (team-high 27 points) came up short to send the fans into bedlam.
“We’ve been talking about finding a way to get that spark and get that big win,” said Degrate, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. “We came back [in regulation] and we just wanted to get that win so badly, and we did.
“Both teams played very hard and we were able to get it in the end.”
Glendale, which suffered a 61-56 loss at Crescenta Valley on Jan. 8, appeared to be in position to win the game in regulation. Shamiryan, who finished with a team-high 27 points (all in the second half), made his seventh three-pointer to give the Nitros a 58-55 lead with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter. However, Pezeshkian was fouled on a three-point attempt with one second left and made all three free throws to knot it at 58.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am for our guys to get a win like this,” said Glendale coach Ib Belou, a former Crescenta Valley player. “Our guys trusted each other and shook off anything that occurred against them. They put themselves in position to make the right plays and get the win.
“We’ve been trying to find that right formula and maybe we found it in overtime. They showed that mental toughness and proved to themselves they can step up in tight situations.”
Degrate, who had nine points in the first quarter, made two free throws with 3:03 to go in overtime to give the Nitros, who began a four-game homestand, a 60-58 lead. Pezeshkian made two free throws with 53 seconds remaining to tie it at 60.
Crescenta Valley held a 27-19 halftime lead. Pezeshkian made a three-pointer to give the Falcons a 23-17 lead with 1:38 to play in the first half. The Falcons then took a 36-26 lead midway through the third quarter. A three-pointer by Shamiryan cut the deficit to 41-40 with 27 seconds to go in the third quarter.
“There was a lot of suspense in the fourth quarter and then into overtime,” said Crescenta Valley assistant Dovall Boykins, who filled in for coach Shawn Zargarian. “Arman stepped up big to make those three free throws with a second left and we felt good.
“One of the big things was that we gave up 21 points in the third quarter. We’ve had some letdowns in third quarters during the season. [Shamiryan] heated up in the third quarter and stayed hot in the fourth quarter. We just needed to close that out when we were up in the second half.”