LA CRESCENTA — With the personnel in tact and healthy, there appears to be high expectations this season for the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team.
The Falcons have added depth at all positions and have standout senior guard Ella Stepanian back on board after she missed all of last season because of a knee injury.
Crescenta Valley looked to see how that depth and the return of Stepanian would play out during its season opener Wednesday night.
Crescenta Valley got strong performances from many of its starters, including Tanisha Minasian and Alisa Shin, who scored 18 points apiece to power Crescenta Valley to an 86-10 pool-play win against Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in a pool-play game of the Falcon Classic.
“We wanted to make a good first impression in out first game,” Minasian said. “We have a lot of depth and we like to be able to play a fast game. We have a goal of trying to win the Pacific League and going pretty far in the playoffs.”
Crescenta Valley built a 53-0 lead before the Knights scored with 2:23 left in the first half.
Stepanian, a former all-league selection, returned to the court for the first time with the Falcons sporting a knee brace. Stepanian shook off the early rust and finished with 11 points and 11 assists.
Stepanian said she learned plenty while sitting on the bench and watching Crescenta Valley compete last season.
“It felt good to finally be able to get back out there,” said Stepanian, who averaged 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game for the Falcons during the 2011-12 campaign. “It was real tough last year not being able to play.
“I really appreciated watching the team play and learning what they like to do. I just want to try to come back strong and we have a very good team.”
The Falcons, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season, received seven points apiece from Jackie Wilson and Josie Brock.
The Falcons held a 37-0 advantage after the first quarter and extended their lead to 58-4 at halftime. The Knights (0-2) finally got on the board on a basket by Elizabeth Fanous.
Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said he was eager to see how the Falcons would begin the season.
“It’s almost like a brand-new team,” Perez said. “There’s a lot of different things that we can do out there.
“We tried to play a lot of up-tempo. We have a lot of people who can go inside and shoot from the outside.”
Crescenta Valley will meet Whittier in another pool-play contest at 6:15 p.m. Thursday. The tournament will wrap up Saturday.