Now the Falcons will advance to play either 11th-seeded Martin Luther King or Ontario on Saturday.
“We’re seniors and it was our last chance,” Ebrahimian said. “We didn’t want to end it on a bad play, so I just stepped up to help the team out.”
Crescenta Valley (23-5) and Valencia (15-13) were tied at 34 going into the fourth quarter and were still knotted up, at 43, with 3:09 to play just before Melanie Samvalian (seven points) hit a free throw to complete a three-point play and give the Falcons a one-point lead.
With 2:31 left, the Vikings’ Faith Anumba, who led her team with 16 points, missed a short jumper and the rebound went to Crescenta Valley’s Shayna Svihovec.
The senior forward lofted a long outlet pass to Pappas streaking to the opposite basket and she converted a layup while being fouled. The ensuing free throw attempt was missed, but rebounded by Svihovec.
The Falcons reset their offense and found Ebrahimian, who finished with 11 points, wide open behind the arc off a feed from Dani Vargas (five assists). She buried the shot for a 49-43 lead with 2:00 left.
“They had been getting us on boards all game, so we really had to box them out and we needed a second chance, otherwise we would have lost,” Pappas said.
Valencia’s Jenny Lentz answered with a quick drive to cut the lead to four with 1:42 remaining. Pappas drew a foul, but missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Valencia a chance with 1:18 to go.
Ebrahimian responded with the defensive play of the game, picking the ball at midcourt and setting up a Pappas drive that put the Falcons up, 51-45, with 45 seconds left.
Lentz, who scored 14 points to go with seven boards and six assists, sank a three-pointer with eight seconds left, but the Vikings, down three, were then forced to foul. Ebrahimian calmly sank both free throws to put the game on ice.
Impressive in itself was the Falcons’ ability to survive a debacle of a second quarter in which they went without scoring for the first 7:13.
But Valencia’s output was equally meager — just four points on two of six shooting with 10 turnovers — and Pappas reeled off six straight points inside the final 47 seconds to keep the Falcons ahead, 23-19, at halftime.
“None of our shots were falling, especially mine,” Pappas said. “We talked about it in the locker room [at halftime], how one quarter isn’t a game, so we’ve got to finish.”