GLENDALE — Down seven points and two players with momentum clearly against it, it could be argued that all the ingredients for one of the bigger Pacific League boys’ basketball upsets was lining up again visiting Crescenta Valley High.
Maybe the lone aspect in the Falcons’ favor versus Glendale was poise.
The Falcons scored seven of the final eight points in regulation to force overtime and then nine of the first 11 points in overtime in winning, 65-62, over the Nitros, while also keeping their league title aspirations afloat.
“I really enjoy coaching these guys and they’re always prepared before every game,” Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. “They understand what they need to do, so even when we’re down, every guy knows what he needs to do. Nobody panics. They just play and today they pulled it out.”
After Crescenta Valley (12-8, 6-2) opened overtime with a three-pointer from senior guard Eric Bae, the Nitros (7-13, 2-6) eventually pulled back to within a point after a pair of free throws from junior forward Gevork Sarkissian with 1:42 left.
Crescenta Valley immediately went back to Bae (17 points), who missed on a running jumper from the baseline. Fortunately for the Falcons, reserve guard Chris Bouchard came flying through the lane for a pivotal offensive rebound, was fouled by Sarkissian with 1:16 left and hit one of two free-throw attempts to give Crescenta Valley a 60-58 advantage.
While the Falcons came up with a big offensive board, the Nitros struggled before eventually turning the ball over for their fourth turnover of the four-minute session.
The mistake proved costly when Falcons junior guard Berj Krikorian knifed through the lane for a layup with 32 seconds left that gave the Falcons a 62-58 lead.
“We just took whatever the defense was going to give us and on that play they gave me the lane,” said Krikorian, who totaled a game-high 21 points. “We have a lot of weapons on this team and we believed we could come back.”
Glendale tried one last time to close within a possession, but missed on a three-point try and was forced to quickly foul the Falcons again.
Bae, who was fouled, sank two game-clinching free throws, which gave the Falcons an insurmountable 64-58 lead.
“We just made poor decisions at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime that hurt us,” Glendale Coach Steve Snodgress said. “One or two plays are executed differently and it’s a different game. We showed that we’re capable of making those plays by coming back in the fourth.”
At two different junctures, it appeared both the Falcons and Nitros were destined for wins.
Crescenta Valley opened the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead only to watch Glendale rally with an 8-1 run to climb within 45-44 with 4:45 left on an inside bucket from center Arthur Terzyan (15 points).
On the Nitros’ next offensive possession, Glendale briefly took a 46-45 lead.
Junior forward Raffi Jivalagian (20 points) was fouled on an offensive rebound attempt by Falcons junior Connor Van Ginkel. While securing the board, Jivalagian elbowed Van Ginkel in the face and was called for a subsequent technical foul.
Jivalagian sank two free throws, but Crescenta Valley’s Kyle Currie took two free throws in Van Ginkel’s place and made both to put the Falcons back up by one.
The contest was eventually tied at 48 with 3:14 to go before the Nitros went on a 7-0 spurt highlighted by a three-pointer from Alex Miralis (20 points) off an assist from Eddie Uluchyan with 1:29 remaining, which gave Glendale a 55-48 advantage.
To their credit, the Falcons answered with an inside bucket from Eric Patten (11 points), who was fouled on the play and made his follow-up free throw with 1:22 left.
Over the next four possessions for Glendale, the Nitros committed two turnovers, missed a jumper and only hit one of two free throws.
That combination allowed a straightway three-pointer from Krikorian with 24 seconds knot the game at 56.
“Berj had a huge game, but so did Eric and Kyle and half the team,” Zargarian said. “These are the types of wins you enjoy because they were won by the entire team.”