LA CRESCENTA — Two games into the season and the Crescenta Valley High girls’ basketball team hasn’t yielded a first-quarter field goal.
While it’s unlikely the Falcons will keep up that pace throughout the season, it hasn’t stopped them from believing their defensive pressure might be a key ingredient in challenging for the Pacific League championship and a return to the postseason.
Host Crescenta Valley allowed just one first-quarter point and received 15 points and seven assists from Ella Stepanian and 14 points and seven rebounds from Josie Brock to register a 61-22 victory against Whittier on Thursday night in a pool-play contest of the Falcon Classic.
Crescenta Valley (2-0) will face Thousand Oaks in a semifinal game at 7:45 p.m. Friday. The tournament will wrap up Saturday.
“We want to be able to start out strong on both sides by being aggressive and playing with a lot of intensity,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez, whose team didn’t allow a first-quarter point in an 86-10 pool-play victory against Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies on Wednesday. “We want to come out and try to jump on the other team.”
Crescenta Valley followed the instructions against Whittier (1-1). Crescenta Valley jumped out to a 19-0 lead and didn’t relinquish a point until Whittier’s Mariah Rivera made the second of a p[air of free throws to cut the deficit to 19-1 with 1:53 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons also received a big effort from Brock, a sophomore forward. Brock will be looked upon to provide inside scoring and grab offensive rebounds for the Falcons. She finished with seven rebounds, five on the offensive end.
“She’s extremely big and strong,” said Perez, who got 11 points from Alisa Shinn. “We know she can grab rebounds, particularly offensive rebounds, and get a lot of put-back baskets.
“Plus, she knows how to run the floor and finish by grinding it out.”
Brock said she’s adjusting to the varsity level after playing on the junior varsity team last season.
“I’m learning about it,” said Brock, who converted a three-point play to give the Falcons a 10-0 advantage with 4:19 left in the first quarter. “With our offense, it’s about being able to get out on the fast break.
“I like going to the basket.”
Crescenta Valley held a 38-7 halftime lead and a 52-19 advantage through three quarters.