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Falcons Foil Pasadena's Comeback


Josh Willis was running hot and cold. So was Eddie Molina, although in more ways than one.

And, consequently, so was the Crescenta Valley High basketball team in Tuesday's key Pacific League game against visiting Pasadena.

After blazing to a 13-point third-quarter lead, Crescenta Valley held on for a 59-55 victory that forged a second-place tie between the Falcons (11-8, 3-1 in league play) and Pasadena (14-4, 3-1). Muir is first at 4-0.

With the score tied, 55-55, Crescenta Valley's Robert Miller scored the game's final four points on a three-point basket from the top of the key with 1 minute 30 seconds to play and a free throw with 14 seconds left.

Willis, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, scored 25 first-half points via baseline jump shots and spinning moves.

However, Willis, who scored 60 points in two games last week, cooled quickly, scoring only two points in the third quarter and none thereafter.

Enter Molina, a 5-9 senior guard battling a temperature of 102 degrees.

"I've felt like going home all day," Molina said. "I've been having hot flashes and cold chills. . . . But this was an important game and the team needs me."

Throughout the second half, Molina played like he felt. Grabbing the torch from Willis, Molina hit three three-point baskets within three minutes to sustain the Falcons' intensity.

Molina made five three-point baskets and finished with 17 points. But after his third three-point shot gave Crescenta Valley a 43-30 lead midway through the third quarter, Molina missed his next three shots from behind the three-point line.

Pasadena rallied to trim the Falcons' lead to 52-50 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

"I was aggressive in the first half because I really wanted this game a lot," said Willis, whose 27 points led all scorers. "I went to the free-throw line a lot in the first half. But in the second half, (the officials) weren't calling anything."

Pasadena junior forward Treyvone Towns led the Bulldogs' charge with four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Molina connected on a final three-point shot with three minutes to play to give Crescenta Valley a 55-50 lead.

But Pasadena pulled even at 55-55 on a pair of free throws by guard Nate Gulley with two minutes to play.

"I'm just happy we won," Crescenta Valley Coach John Goffredo said. "We just, offensively, kind of closed down."

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