Big rally leads Crescenta Valley girls' basketball past Glendale

LA CRESCENTA — In a game that was hardly close in the early going and looked anything but destined for overtime, the Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team ultimately took advantage when its Pacific League game with Glendale ultimately did go into an extra frame.

It was in the four-minute overtime where the Falcons, led by sophomore Tanisha Minassian, took their first lead of the game en route to a 42-41 win over the Nitros Monday night at Crescenta Valley High.

Minassian scored all seven of Crescenta Valley’s points in the overtime session and helped the Falcons follow up an impressive victory over Muir to open league Friday with another solid effort to remain undefeated in Pacific League play.

“As a team, we came together and fought back,” said Minassian, who led the Falcons with 16 points — all in the second half and overtime. “I thought our team deserved to win and I played my hardest for that to happen.”

The Nitros (7-6, 0-2 in league) were in control early, scoring the first 14 points of the contest and not allowing a point in the first quarter and six points at the half.

The second of four three-pointers from senior guard Tara Abdul-Ahad put Glendale back up by 14 early in the third quarter as her jumper to beat the shot clock gave the Nitros a 20-6 cushion.

The Falcons (7-8, 2-0), though, would start the second half more aggressive on defense as they switched to a full-court press, and were able to translate it over to offense as they scored 13 of the first 18 points of the frame to cut the lead down to 22-19.

“We had only scored six points, but we were down 11,” Falcons Coach Jason Perez said. “We had played really good defense and we knew the game was going to slow down. We just needed to attack more, run our offense and get good shots.”

Abdul-Ahad stopped the bleeding temporarily as her four-point play late in the quarter turned a slim two-point lead back up to 28-22.

Crescenta Valley sustained the momentum, however, and fought back until tying up the score at 35 on an Emily Beglarian basket inside from a driving Minassian with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth.

The Nitros weren’t able to get a shot off as time in regulation expired.

Glendale Coach Tania Adary said the final minute of the fourth quarter was evident of the entire second half for the Nitros.

“We weren’t running our offense and instead getting whatever we could,” Adary said. “We let them get in the bonus early and gave them an opportunity to catch up. We let them get comfortable in their offense.”

After giving up the lead for the first time all game, a pair of free throws from Kristineh Zadourian gave the Nitros a 38-37 edge. Minassian’s two free throws to put the Falcons back up by three with 6.9 seconds remaining prompted a Glendale timeout.

The Nitros were able to get a basket on the final play of the game but it was a layup inside by Erlin Keshishzadeh and not the three-pointer they were looking for to send it into another overtime.

Abdul-Wahad led the Nitros with 15 points. Keshishzadeh followed up with 11 and Zadourian added eight.

Minassian’s 16 led all scorers. The Falcons will play their next six league games on the road while Glendale travels to Pasadena on Friday before going back home to play Burbank and Muir next week.

“Being 2-0 is nice, but we’re still a work in progress,” Perez said. “To get the big upset, and come back and get a win here — that’s two monstrous wins. We know we can beat a giant team like Muir and win a game like this.”

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