GLENDALE — Jash Francisco strolled into a quiet Hoover High gymnasium about three hours before game time and spent 45 minutes honing his shooting skills.
Several hours later, backed by a sterling three-point shooting effort, the Hoover boys’ basketball player turned the venue into a noisy one.
“When I hit my first three, I figured I could be in for a good night.”
More like a sensational night, as Hoover built a huge lead in the second half and never let Crescenta Valley, ranked seventh in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I-A poll, mount a comeback, as the Tornadoes defeated the Falcons for the first time since Jan. 18, 2008. Hoover (12-11, 4-7 in league) pulled off its second straight upset win, beginning with a 68-66 home league victory against Muir on Monday. Muir is ranked 13th in Division IV-AA.
Perhaps the Tornadoes, who made 12 three-pointers and converted 12 of their 15 free-throw attempts, have chosen the right time to get on a hot streak and make a bid for a playoff berth.
“For the school and the kids, it’s great,” said Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten, whose team suffered a 69-36 loss at Crescenta Valley on Jan. 14. “The league is really close and we are real confident with the way we are playing right now.
“We are running our offense a little better each game by moving from side to side. We are also playing some good defense. I think Jash is one of the best shooters in the area. He’s dangerous when he can catch and then shoot.”
Francisco, a senior guard, provided a quality shooting demonstration against Crescenta Valley (18-6, 9-2), which entered the evening tied for first in league with Pasadena
He made a three-pointer to give Hoover a commanding 31-14 advantage with 1:36 left in the second quarter. Hoover made eight three-pointers in the first half, including four from Francisco, to grab a 33-16 halftime lead.
“It’s a rivalry game when you play CV, which has been one of the top teams in league,” said Francisco, who made a three-pointer to extend Hoover’s lead to 44-20 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. “We wanted to prove something against them and follow up with a victory after beating Muir.
“We feel like we have a good group of players.”
Hoover also received 21 points from senior guard Francis Roncal and 10 from senior forward Arvin Atakhanian to improve to 3-1 in its last four games.
Crescenta Valley got a team-best 15 points from senior guard Cole Currie. Crescenta Valley lost for the second time in its last three games after winning eight in a row.
Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian said the Falcons were aware of Hoover’s ability to shoot well.
“We watched film of them and they were getting shots,” said Zargarian, who got 12 points from forward Kris Jabourian and eight from guard Arin Pezeshkian. “Tip your hat to Hoover.
“Hoover was focused and we weren’t. We played hard, but it’s hard to catch up.”
Hoover and Crescenta Valley will take part in league games at 7 p.m. Friday. Hoover will travel to Arcadia. Crescenta Valley will meet visiting Burroughs.