LA CRESCENTA — Suddenly, the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team caught fire.
And just as suddenly, Glendale went cold.
And all of a sudden, an 11-point Nitros lead had evaporated into a Falcons celebration after a 47-40 Pacific League victory on Tuesday night at Crescenta Valley High.
“All of a sudden, everything just clicked,” said Falcons Coach Jason Perez, whose team trailed the Nitros, 34-23, with 1:30 left in the third quarter before embarking on a stunning comeback. “Everything that we’ve been struggling with, all of a sudden they all got it and all of a sudden it just clicked.”
Spurred by a clutch performance from Sarah Yoon, in which the junior forward scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, Crescenta Valley (10-8, 3-3 in league) used a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to expunge a Glendale lead that the Nitros had maintained since the end of the first period.
“I was kinda down,” said Yoon, who delivered three three-point plays in the fourth, the first to begin the 13-0 run, the second to cut the score to 38-37, and the last to put CV up, 42-38 with 2:12 left in the contest. “But then [teammate Melanie Minas] came up to me and she said, ‘This game’s not over, you gotta do what you gotta do and step it up.’”
That’s exactly what the Falcons did, as the Nitros (10-8, 2-4) simultaneously went from hot to cold, just as they’ve done much of the season.
“Again, no consistency,” said Tania Adary, who got a team-high 14 points from Serah Mirzaeian, but a subpar six from All-Area standout Stella Ghazarian, who was the second-leading scorer on the team. “We settled for our outside shots and they weren’t hitting.
“We couldn’t make our stops and [the Falcons] executed how they needed to.”
Glendale scored just six points in the final quarter, which began with the Nitros leading, 34-28.
In reality, Crescenta Valley’s turnaround began late in the third quarter.
After a Michelle Tomasian layup with 1:30 remaining gave Glendale a 34-23 lead, the Falcons answered with an Alin Megerdichian runner before Natalia Ratavosian hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Nitros’ advantage to six heading into the fourth.
Glendale answered with a Keasha Luna bucket to start the fourth and a basket by Mirzaeian to make it 38-29 with 6:02 left in the game.
Forty-nine seconds later, Yoon converted her first three-point play and just like that, the game began to change.
“We didn’t have anybody to fill in the holes we needed to fill,” said Adary, whose team had previously alternated wins and losses in its previous league games, but lost its second straight on Tuesday.
Crescenta Valley got nine points from both Ella Stepanian and Catherine Davis, who delivered five and four in the final quarter, respectively. It was Davis who hit a long two with 2:59 to go in the fourth that served as the go-ahead score at 39-38.
“Now, I think they understand how the offense clicks,” Perez said.
Glendale emerged from a back-and-forth first quarter with a slim 10-8 lead and did just the same with a 20-18 advantage at the break. It was in the third when the Nitros looked to have pulled away, as Mirzaeian opened with a three-point play 33 seconds in for a 23-18 lead. She would score eight points in the quarter and an 8-0 run, capped by a Jessica Diaz three-pointer, seemed to have the Nitros going in the winning direction. Obviously, that was hardly the case.
“Everybody just started getting fired up,” Yoon said. “It all clicked together.”