Falcons Have Just Enough

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Maybe something else other than basketball was on the minds of the Crescenta Valley High girls’ team last Saturday evening against Monroe in the opening round of the West Coast Holiday Invitational Tournament held at Harvard-Westlake.
How else can one explain a 20-point lead midway through the third quarter being reduced to a three-point advantage inside a half-minute to play?
The Falcons straightened out their ship and came away with a hard-earned 49-44 victory over a team that entered the game only two games above .500.
Monroe even had a chance to trim the deficit to one-point but missed an easy layup.
There are instances when a club will take a commanding lead and even put their foot on the gas pedal. And then there is the opposite situation, when a team will seemingly relax, almost to the point of playing mindless, sloppy, uninspired and without purpose.
The latter is what happened to Crescenta Valley (8-1) and, luckily, Monroe (7-6) is merely average, and not a powerhouse.
“We did nothing in the second half,” said Crescenta Valley Head Coach Jason Perez. “We thought the game was ours, and we took it easy and stopped playing. What we did do was a lot of looking around and not much else.”
It’s clear that the Falcons are a superior team compared to Monroe, and set out to prove it from the opening tip.
In most games, the star for the Falcons is Cassie Pappas who, on this night, scored her team’s first 14 points after the intermission.
A skilled shooter who can score with ease, Pappas finished with a game-best 29 points. But there was a long stretch when she didn’t score. Her four free throws with about a half-minute left in the fourth quarter helped secure the victory.
Monroe had two primary weapons in Ani Avanessian, who dropped in 18 points, and Jecenia Trinidad, who totaled 12 points.
In other girls’ play, it was all Bellarmine-Jefferson (Burbank) when it faced Torrance in the first round of the Best of the West Tournament, with the Guards winning, 85-61.
By all accounts, the contest was put out of reach in the third quarter as Bell-Jeff (9-2) outscored Torrance, 27-8, and were going to be hard-pressed to stage any kind of rally.
Leading the Guards were Rishonda Napier, who finished with 18 points, while teammate Margeaux Gupilan totaled 13 points, along with eight steals.
Meanwhile, Burroughs found itself on the short end of the stick against Alemany. The Indians had numerous problems defending and shooting the ball, falling 71-40, in the opening round of the West Coast Invitational.
Three Alemany players were in double figures, led by Maya Sotelo’s 16 points, followed by Angelica Sahagun’s 14 points, while Trinidee Trice dropped in 11 points for the Warriors (7-3).
The Indians (5-4) were paced by Lisha Elsenbach with 12 points, but she needed help, and was left fending for herself most of the time.

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