BURBANK — The Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team controlled almost every facet of its Pacific League game Monday against Burroughs — for the first three quarters.
With a defense that frustrated the Indians, the Falcons enjoyed a 13-point lead at one point and went into the fourth quarter with a seven-point advantage. But, paced by a big game from Paula Galicia, Burroughs finally erased the deficit late in the fourth quarter and was able to post a 51-49 victory at home.
The victory keeps the Indians (11-6, 2-0 in league) unbeaten in league play, while the Falcons (11-6, 2-1) absorbed their first league loss.
"This is the first time we won this year being down the whole game and battling and battling back," Burroughs Coach Vicky Oganyan said. "We have lost in overtime, we lost by one and we've lost by two. I was thinking, 'No, this can't happen again.'
"But this time we were able to come through and finally win a game like this."
While some of the Burroughs players were struggling from the floor for stints in the game, Galicia provided an offensive constant. She almost single-handedly keep the Indians in the contest in the third quarter, hitting two three pointers and tallying eight of her game-high 22 points in the stanza.
"I just felt good with my shot tonight," Galicia said. "I just wanted to keep on shooting."
Despite Galicia's efforts, Crescenta Valley dictated play on both sides of the floor for the first three quarters and especially in the first half.
After spotting the Indians a 4-0 lead to start the game, the Falcons surged in front, 6-4, on a three-pointer from Samantha Lamb. Crescenta Valley continued to outplay the Indians and ended the quarter with a 14-8 lead.
In the second quarter, Burroughs fell behind by 13, 21-8, with 5:59 remaining on a layup by Josie Block. Crescenta Valley ended the first half with a 29-23 lead, but it could have been worse for the Indians if Sidney Ortega hadn't hit a three-pointer with four seconds remaining.
"In the first half, we were getting good shots with our feet planted and we were not forcing things," said Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez, whose Falcons were led by Alisa Shinn (14 points and 14 rebounds) and Ella Stepanian (10 points). "But in the second half, we weren't making the extra passes and finding the best shot that we can. But that is just part of the pressure of the game."
In the third quarter, the Falcons increased their lead to 10 with 3:38 left after Burroughs was able to convert only one of its first eight shots from the floor to open the stanza. Crescenta Valley went into the fourth quarter with a 44-37 lead after Lamb sank a three-pointer from half-court at the buzzer.
Burroughs battled back in the fourth and finally tied the score at 48 with 1:26 to go on a free throw from Jakarra Waddell. The Falcons were than able to get the lead back, 49-48, when Shinn converted one free throw with 55.3 seconds left.
"We know we're never out of if we play hard," Oganyan said. "The girls have good chemistry. Even when we were down by 13 we don't feel like we're out of it. It was just a matter of us making the plays down the stretch."
After missing two shots, the Indians tied the score at 49 when Davina Del Castillo (11 points, eight rebounds) made good on a free throw with 41.9 left. Ortega then stole the ball on the Falcons' next possession and made a free throw with 29.6 remaining to give the Indians a 50-49 advantage.
Crescenta Valley had a chance to win the game on its final position, but a long three-pointer from the top of the key missed the mark.
Waddell converted a free throw with 0.3 left for the final tally.