Falcons fall to Apaches

LA CRESCENTA — For the moment, the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team will be all ears after letting an opportunity to grab an automatic playoff berth slip through their hands.

The Falcons entered Thursday night's Pacific League contest against visiting Arcadia tied for fourth place with Burbank. A victory would have landed Crescenta Valley a spot in the CIF playoffs next week.

A lack of clutch shooting has put those plans on hold after Crescenta Valley suffered a 42-33 defeat to rival Arcadia.

Four teams — Crescenta Valley, Arcadia, Glendale and Burbank — are 6-8 in league and tied for fourth place, the last automatic playoff berth from the eight-team league.

As of press time, there was no concrete league decision on how to break the tie. Reportedly, there will be a meeting between the league's athletic directors this morning to determine how the ties will be broken. Regardless of the tiebreakers, the teams can also petition for at-large berths within their respective divisions.

Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said the Falcons (13-13) squandered a golden opportunity to lock up a playoff berth with their third straight loss.

"It's disappointing because emotions were very high," Perez said. "We missed a lot of easy shots and they took advantage of our defensive mistakes.

"We missed our shots when it came down to it and they were able to pull it out. I don't even want to think about all of the [playoff] possibilities right now."

Arcadia (13-11) got a game-high 21 points from sophomore guard Melody Chang. Chang had nine fourth-quarter points to help the Apaches complete the two-game season series sweep against the Falcons.

Chang got things going for the Apaches, who entered the fourth quarter with a 24-22 lead. She recorded a steal and converted it into a layup to give Arcadia a 30-26 lead with 5:10 left.

Crescenta Valley cut the lead to 30-29 on a three-point play by junior center Samira Seraji with 4:25 remaining. However, Chang made another layup to extend the Apaches' lead to 35-29 with 2:50 left before connecting on a three-pointer to extend the advantage to 38-29 with 2:14 remaining.

Crescenta Valley, which advanced to the quarterfinals last season, missed its first eight shots from the floor to begin the game. Arcadia built an 8-1 lead before Crescenta Valley closed out the opening stanza on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 10-8.

The teams were deadlocked at 16 at intermission, but the Falcons then struggled throughout the second half. The Falcons scored 17 points in the second half.

"When you score 17 points in a half, then you are not going to win a lot of games," said Perez, who received 10 points from freshman forward Ella Stepanian and eight from senior forward Sarah Yoon.

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