Balance carries Falcons girls' basketball over El Camino Real, 46-40

BURBANK — It’s no secret that Ella Stepanian will likely be the go-to player on offense for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team next season.

Between now and then, the Falcons are searching for additional players to help shoulder some of the scoring load. They might have found one in point guard Tanisha Minassian.

“I’m doing what I can to try to progress,” said Minassian, who registered nine points Tuesday afternoon to help Crescenta Valley post a 46-40 victory against El Camino Real in a Burroughs High Summer League contest. “I’m trying to be good at doing a lot of different things, and I felt like I helped the team out [Tuesday].”

Stepanian, a wing, earned a spot on the All-Pacific League team for the second consecutive season. Stepanian averaged a team-high 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game for the Falcons, who went 15-12, 7-7 in league to tie for fourth place and qualify for the playoffs.

Crescenta Valley had 10 players produce points on Tuesday, a sign Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said was a positive.

“We were able to go out there and run some of our offense very well,” Perez said. “Ella had two points in the second half, but the rest of the team went out there and responded.

“We did that by lots of rotating and that gives us more alternatives. We need Ella to score, but it’s also nice to get her help. Tanisha had a couple of good stretches.”

Stepanian finished with 10 points and eight assists. The Falcons also received six points from Emily Beglarian.

Stepanian scored the first eight points of the game for the Falcons. She recorded a steal and a layup to give the Falcons an 8-2 lead with 13:54 left in the first half. Minassian hit a three-pointer to extend Crescenta Valley’s lead to 22-10 with 5:08 remaining in the first half. A layup by Beglarian with 28 seconds left gave the Falcons a 26-17 halftime advantage.

Stepanian’s lone second-half basket came when she grabbed her third offensive rebound and scored on a layup to make it 38-28 with 8:50 remaining. Jacqueline Wilson made the first of two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Perez said the Falcons are looking to build off last season’s trip to the playoffs by featuring a team that will have mostly juniors on board.

“They are looking to improve their overall skill,” Perez said. “They want to go out there and make the tough shots.

“If we can do those kind of things, I think we will have a more balanced team.”

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