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Crescenta Valley girls' basketball fends off Burbank for league win

LA CRESCENTA — A strong start for the Crescenta Valley girls’ basketball team in its Pacific League contest against Burbank set the Falcons up for the tough battle in the second half.

The Bulldogs struggled to find the basket early in the first quarter, and in the second, couldn’t capitalize on shots in the paint, while the Falcons made shots from the perimeter and in the key with ease.

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Despite a fourth-quarter surge from Burbank, Crescenta Valley was able to hold off the Bulldogs for a 53-43 league win at home Friday.

The Falcons led by double-digits in the second quarter and early in the final period before the Bulldogs cut the lead to six.

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The final quarter was a battle at the charity stripe, in which Crescenta Valley used to its advantage to maintain its lead.

“I don’t know if we really eased up as much,” Crescenta Valley coach Jason Perez said. “It just seemed as if we just weren’t getting the same easy baskets. We weren’t getting the same shots and we weren’t hitting the [same] shots. We were getting a lot of open looks and in the first half we hit a lot of those threes, but in the second half we just missed them.”

Falcons senior guard Georgina Kregorian helped jump-start the hosts to a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game, hitting three consecutive three-pointers.

However, the guard ran into foul trouble midway in the second half and sat out the fourth quarter, but still finished with 16 points behind senior guard Caity Bouchard with a game-high 17 points.

“We always want to start out strong,” Kregorian said. “It all matters in the first quarter and that’s what we did. We played as a team and I was lucky enough to get the passes to drain those threes to quicken the game. I think that’s a really big factor because if you start out strong and you have the lead, then you’ll have the lead the entire game and that’s what basically happened to us.”

Kregorian and Bouchard also tallied four steals each.

Burbank sophomore guard Erika Montoya propelled the Bulldogs back into the game with four straight three-pointers in the second half to match Kregorian’s earlier tally.

“Overall, the nice thing is that we got ourselves together,” Perez said. “We only had three turnovers the entire game and that’s how you’re going to win a lot of basketball games. We took a lot of shots and we just didn’t make as many, but we got to the line enough, and I think it’s solid enough. We’ll take it. It’s league. You’re just worried about getting the win and moving on to the next one.”

Burbank dominated the boards, as sophomore Jayla Flowers and senior Osana Tirityan combined for 28 of the team’s 39 rebounds.

Flowers led the Bulldogs with 16 rebounds, while Tirityan grabbed 12, which helped Burbank pull to within a single-digit deficit late in the game.

“We picked up our defense and had less turnovers, and then Erika Montoya caught on fire,” said Burbank co-coach Jett Del Mundo. “We hit a couple of threes. She needed that to get her confidence going and we needed it to pick ourselves up. Once we get everyone on the same page, we’ll be good.”

The Falcons had a 7-0 run that stretched from late in the first quarter into the second period, as the hosts pulled away for a 30-14 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs had a rough start to the second half, as the visitors turned the ball over three times in the opening minute of the third quarter.

As Kregorian sat in foul trouble, Burbank started gaining momentum thanks to Flowers’ five points midway into the frame that cut the lead to 34-20.

“We had to trust everybody and we weren’t doing that in the first half,” said Del Mundo, who was missing a few players due to injury or illness. “We had girls that were trying to carry the load and not play team game.

“Second half, we just got back on that page and started playing together, [had] a little more trust in each other, and competed a little better.”

A Bouchard steal turned into a layup to make it a 38-23 Falcons lead with 2:17 left in the third.

Despite a scoring drought, the Falcons were able to keep a 40-26 lead heading into the final quarter.

Montoya hit a pair of three-pointers in each of the final two quarters to give the Bulldogs momentum before they cut the Falcons’ lead to 46-40 with 2:44 left.

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