Hoover (14-11) and Arcadia (10-12) came into the game tied for third place with 3-5 records, but with the win, the Tornadoes have the inside track for the last automatic playoff berth in league.
Should the Tornadoes beat Glendale on Thursday or Arcadia loses to Crescenta Valley, then Hoover would get third. If the teams are tied after the regular season, a one-game playoff would likely be held Friday.
"It's fun to be in games like this," said Van Patten, whose team has now won three out of its last four league games after a 1-4 start, including 40-30 at Crescenta Valley last week. "That's two games in a row where we've come through in pressure situations."
And for the second game in a row, the Tornadoes did it short-handed.
Starting point guard Rachel Estrella missed Friday's game against the Falcons with an ankle injury, and her return this season is doubtful.
If losing Estrella wasn't bad enough, on Monday Hoover lost key reserve Chelsea Baqueiro to an ankle injury, which brought the Tornadoes' roster to seven.
Of course, that's nothing new.
Hoover went with that many for the entire 2004-05 season, and finished third in the Pacific League.
On Tuesday, the Tornadoes took a major step in repeating that feat, thanks to junior Annette Arzoo.
Arzoo -- who's battling an ankle injury, as well -- scored a game-high 18 points.
After a slow start, she found her offensive touch, especially from long range.
She hit three three-pointers, all in the second half, including one at the buzzer to end the third quarter that gave Hoover a seven-point cushion.
Iren Tatevosyan also had a big game for Hoover. The power forward, who was the only senior honored on Senior Night, finished with 13 rebounds and four assists.
* HAMLET NALBANDYAN covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or by e-mail at email@example.com.