NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Fueled by smothering defense, the Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team ended a two-game skid in league play and handed another defeat to a Hoover High squad that hasn't won a league game since the 2008-2009 season.

The Falcons didn’t allow a point in the first quarter of Monday evening’s tilt at Hoover High and cruised to a 44-24 victory.

Juniors Jacqueline Wilson and Emily Beglarian scored nine of the team’s 15 first-quarter points. They each finished with eight points to complement a balanced scoring attack led by Tanisha Minassian’s nine on four for 13 shooting.

It was the defense, however, that secured the win, as the Falcons (8-10, 3-2) held the Tornadoes without a field goal until under a minute remained in the first half.

“We want to keep improving and do things better,” said Falcons Coach Jason Perez, whose team is in the middle of a six-game road trip. “Today, we moved forward.”

After the rough first half, the Tornadoes (1-10, 0-5 in league) fought back in the third quarter and outscored Crescenta Valley, 10-4. Melissa Manouki scored eight points in the frame and helped her team cut the Falcons’ lead to 31-17 with one quarter to play.

“I encouraged them to play for themselves — not for me, the coaching staff or even for the injured players,” third-year Tornadoes Coach Stan Watson said. “Melissa knocked some shots, got to the basket and became aggressive. I said, ‘Candy [Manouki] is playing, who’s going to play with her.’”

The momentum wouldn’t be sustained, however, as Crescenta Valley turned up the intensity again in the fourth, which guided a 13-2 run that put the game away.

The Falcons went back to what got them the big lead in the first half and forced nine turnovers in the quarter, while moving the ball efficiently on offense for their six field goals in the final eight-minute stretch.

“We came out in the third with a man-to-man defense to not let them get any threes,” Perez said. “We couldn’t score and made the game close. In the fourth, we put the press back on and then we emptied the bench to finish the game.”

Crescenta Valley had lost the previous two Pacific League games on the road against Burbank and Burroughs. They will travel to Pasadena to take on the Bulldogs on Wednesday night.

The Tornadoes will look to get a win Wednesday at Burbank before a home game with rival Glendale.

“I thought our passing was a lot better,” Perez said. “Being 3-2 in league isn’t as important as getting better. We did a lot of things better today.”