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Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball rallies to force first-place tie

Basketball: Falcons pull off dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to best Pasadena, 55-51.

February 07, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley High forward Eric Patten shoots in the lane against Pasadena in a Pacific League boys' basketball game at Crescenta Valley High on Thursday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Crescenta Valley High forward Eric Patten shoots in the…

LA CRESCENTA — Much like its start to the Pacific League boys’ basketball season, Crescenta Valley High found itself in a hole Friday evening.

The Falcons trailed by nine points early in the fourth quarter versus arguably a more athletic opponent in nine-time defending Pacific League champion Pasadena.

Yet, Crescenta Valley remained poised, defended well and hit just enough free throws in rallying for a thrilling 55-51 victory that put the Falcons in a position to at least clinch a share of the league title.

“I told our guys before the game, we can’t do this, we can’t fall behind and expect to come back again and that’s exactly what we did,” Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. “Our athletic director [Dave Mendoza] said that we were down nine and had them just where we wanted them.”

With the victory, Crescenta Valley (18-8, 10-2 in league) has pulled even with Pasadena (15-9, 10-2) atop the league standings with two league contests remaining.

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On the climb to the top, the Falcons recovered from a 3-2 start to league play, good for a fourth-place position, by winning seven straight games that included improbable rallies versus Glendale (65-62), Muir (49-47) and Burroughs (55-49).

Crescenta Valley, which trailed, 44-35, at the 6:38 mark in the fourth quarter, took its first lead since 1-0 at 50-49 after junior varsity call-up Arin Ovanessian (12 points) drained a straightaway three-pointer with 2:21 remaining, which led to a timeout by Pasadena.

After the break, the Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of star guard Ajon Efferson, who was defended at times by a trio of players in Berj Krikorian, Eric Bae and Arin Pezeshkian.

Crescenta Valley’s defense shined under pressure, as Efferson committed back-to-back turnovers on Pasadena’s next two possessions, which was eventually cashed into a layup when Bae split defenders en route to a bucket that gave the Falcons a 52-49 advantage with 56.2 seconds remaining.

Pasadena missed a three on its next possession and was forced to foul.

While Crescenta Valley missed the front end of a one-plus-one bonus, Ovanessian rebounded the missed free throw, which led to a timeout with 34.3 seconds left.

Pasadena then appeared destined to tighten the screws when Efferson stole a pass with 23 seconds left and fired a pass to streaking senior Rayjon Moore (10 points).

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