ARCADIA — No matter how wide the lead, the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team seemingly couldn't create enough separation between itself and rival Arcadia.
Each time the Falcons buried a long-range shot or completed a three-point play, the pesky Apaches kept clawing back.
The game wasn't decided until the waning minutes, when Crescenta Valley suffocated Arcadia's interior and forced it to live behind the arc.
The Falcons surged late, with no response by the Apaches, and they pulled away with a 75-64 win Thursday evening in the Pacific League finale.
Crescenta Valley (22-5, 11-3), ranked No. 5 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I-A poll, will await the playoff pairings Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I feel like we had good momentum throughout," Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian. "We had a couple letdowns, but I think our guys did a good job of keeping that energy up and playing hard.
Leading by as many as 12 in the opening half, Crescenta Valley saw its lead dwindle to six at the end of the third quarter.
Arcadia (11-15, 4-10) quickly cut it to four after scoring on a layup. With 5:23 to play, the Apaches cut the deficit to 50-49.
The Falcons countered with a pair of foul shots and Arcadia responded with a scoop shot underneath.
Draining a three-pointer, the Apaches trailed, 58-54, with 2:52 remaining.
Cole Currie buried a three-pointer to push the lead back. He scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, sparking Crescenta Valley's surge along with Davis Dragovich (20 points).
Out of an inbounds play, Dylan Kilgour nailed another shot to push the lead to 64-57 with 1:50 to play.
Then, Tade Keshishyan (13 points) came away with a steal and was fouled on his way to basket. He hit both foul shots, and stole a second pass, racing for a coast-to-coast layup and 68-59 advantage.
After Arcadia hit another falling scoop shot, Currie scored on an outlet pass and converted the free-throw.
The Apaches' missed 3-pointer on the next possession led to a Dragovich rebound, drawing a foul.
He sank both free-throws and, leading at that point, 73-60, with 1:02 left, Crescenta Valley emptied its bench.
"Those guys [Currie and Dragovich] have carried us all year," Zargarian said. "They really stepped up and had some big plays for us.
"Once we started playing better defense and rebounding the basketball, that was the key for us. Offensively, we knew we could score against them. The key was just getting stops and getting rebounds.
Currie drilled five three-pointers, with three coming in the opening period. Dragovich was consistent throughout, scoring all of his six points in the fourth quarter from the foul line.
"It's always fun to come here; it's a rivalry game. They're going to bring their best stuff and we're going to bring our best stuff, so it's always good for us to come away with this win," Dragovich said. "Coach told us to be ready for a dog fight because that's how it's always going to be between us.
"It was close the whole way, it's hard to say when there was a specific time when we thought we had it won. But coming down the stretch, we felt pretty confident."