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Crescenta Valley Pushed Again but Pulls Out Victory

Division I-AA girls' basketball: Falcons rally at finish for second consecutive time, beat Valencia, 61-55.


LA CRESCENTA — There was an aura of confidence surrounding the Crescenta Valley High girls' basketball team.

Even after the Falcons fell behind by six points midway through the fourth quarter, Coach Bruce Breeden said he still had a good feeling about his team's chances.

So he wasn't surprised when Crescenta Valley outscored Valencia, 16-4, in the final 4:35 and pulled off a 61-55 upset in a Southern Section I-AA second-round game.

"I didn't panic when we got down in the fourth quarter and our team didn't either," Breeden said.

All Breeden had to do was remind his team how they came back in similar circumstances in the first round of the playoffs against Palmdale.

The Falcons (18-10) trailed by seven in the fourth quarter of that game, only to bounce back for a 60-54 victory.

"There's no quit in this team," Breeden said. "Our seniors don't want to quit. They want to keep playing."

Valencia (21-6) tried to contain freshman guard Jeanine Deno, who scored 38 points against Palmdale and is the leading scorer for the Falcons.

They managed to limit Deno to nine points and 10 rebounds.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they weren't as prepared for Ashley Powell and Emily Forsythe.

Powell finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, including 12 in the first half when the Falcons took a 32-28 lead.

Forsythe scored 17 points, including eight in the final 4:26.

The Falcons also helped themselves by sinking 10 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter.

After it was over, Coach Jerry Mike of Valencia wasn't making excuses.

Never mind that his teams were 0-13 in this gym when he coached for six years at Glendale.

"They just shot the ball well," Mike said of the Falcons. "They executed their offense well and they played better at the end."

Valencia, which claimed a share of its second consecutive Foothill League title, was supposed to have the depth and balance.

But there were only three players who accounted for most of the offense for the Vikings.

Marissa Meadows finished with 19 points, Tamaiya Smith had 17 and Stephanie Patterson had 11 before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.

Crescenta Valley will play San Clemente, a 76-34 winner over Chino, in the quarterfinals Saturday night.

Forsythe said there is no telling how far her team's momentum can take them.

"This team's come a long way," she said. "We just don't want it to end yet."

Point guard Arginah Margharian displayed solid floor leadership for the Falcons down the stretch, finishing with eight points and eight assists.

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