LA CRESCENTA — An eighth straight victory by the Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team has put it one win away from at least a share of the Pacific League championship.
The Falcons will play rival Arcadia in the season finale on Thursday. The Apaches were defeated on Tuesday by Pasadena, a team tied atop the league standings with Crescenta Valley.
Crescenta Valley earned the right to play for the league title after a resounding 60-46 win over visiting Hoover on Tuesday evening.
Eric Bae and Eric Patten each scored 15 points for the Falcons, but it was a defense that held the Tornadoes to 15 field goals that solidified the win.
“On defense, our emphasis was to shut down Teo [Davidian],” said Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian, whose squad held Hoover’s senior and co-captain to nine points. “He’s an outstanding player. We wanted to make him work and contest his shots. Bae, Arin [Pezeshkian] and Chris [Bouchard] did an outstanding job.”
The Falcons (19-8, 11-2) defeated the Tornadoes earlier in the season by a score of 68-43 on Jan. 21. The defensive strategy in that contest was the same for Zargarian and his players, as they face-guarded Davidian and held him to 12 points — seven from the charity stripe.
“It’s a combination of both, it’s never one or the other,” said Tornadoes Coach Jack Van Patten when asked to attribute the offensive struggles. “They played good ‘D.’ I thought they boarded pretty well.
“I thought CV played well, give them credit. They gave themselves better looks than we gave ourselves.”
Hoover (13-12, 4-9) enjoyed a lead, but only briefly early in the game before the Falcons used a 10-0 run to take a 12-5 advantage and never look back. Davidian’s three-pointer to close out the first quarter was the first field goal in nearly five minutes for Hoover.
Both teams continued to struggle from the field in the second quarter, but Crescenta Valley connecting on three from behind the arc out of its five field goals in the quarter proved to be a major catalyst in the team taking a double-digit lead into halftime. Patten and Bae led the Falcons with 17 of the team’s 27 points and matched Hoover’s output through two quarters.
“We stuck to our game plan and we ran our plays,” Patten said. “They’re a scrappy team and sometimes it’s hard to keep your composure, but this was fun. They’re one of those teams that always comes to play.”
Unfortunately for the Tornadoes, their deficit would not dip into the single digits in the second half, as the Falcons continued to play potent offense and made it difficult for Hoover to do the same.
Bae scored the first seven points for Crescenta Valley in the third quarter, while Hoover’s Chris Sarkisian (16 points) led the way with six points in the frame for his squad. Neither Bae nor Sarkisian — both of whom led the team in the points department — scored in a fourth quarter where the Falcons led by as many as 22 points.
Patten’s dunk early in the frame assisted by junior point guard Berj Krikorian (eight points) in a fast break put the stamp on the game and left little doubt in the outcome. Zargarian pulled his starters with just over two minutes remaining and will now focus on beating Arcadia.
“Everyday, our goal is to go 1-0,” Bae said. “We focus on that game and move on. Now that we won today, our goal is to go 1-0 on Thursday.”
“We have momentum on our side. But our past wins don’t mean anything if we don’t win today.”
Zargarian is pleased with how his team is playing at just the right time.
“They’re playing hard and following the game plan,” he said. “They’re focused in games and the hard work is paying off.”
The Tornadoes will also play their rival to close out the season on Thursday, an evening tilt with host Glendale.