HomeBlocksFront-GridCV Wins Postseason Opener Over Lakewood

CV Wins Postseason Opener Over Lakewood

First published in the Feb. 11 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

Each postseason journey starts with a first step, and for Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball, it was a home game against Lakewood.
In a contest that was close into the fourth quarter, the Falcons blew the game open in the final minutes to secure a 72-54 victory in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs Wednesday night.
“I always say making the playoffs is big, winning a playoff game is big, so now we’ll enjoy this for tonight and start prepping for Tesoro [High School of Rancho Santa Margarita, CV’s second-round opponent],” Falcons coach Shawn Zargarian said.
Crescenta Valley (25-4 record) led by two points after the first quarter, four after the second quarter and six entering the fourth. However, with 5:02 remaining, Lakewood (12-14 record) made two free throws to narrow the margin to 56-52.
After that, the Falcons caught fire and outscored the visitors, 16-2, to close out the game.
The run included eight straight points from CV’s Sebastian Tahmasian, who would outscore the Lancers singlehandedly in the fourth quarter, 11-8.
“We came out very good in the fourth quarter. I think we were hanging on until the third quarter, but the fourth quarter we came out with more energy [and] more positivity,” Tahmasian said. “I’m happy. First round done, off to the second round.”
The fourth-quarter offensive outburst started when Mikail Grigoryan saved an errant pass that looked like it would sail out of bounds, but instead the senior whipped the ball to Tahmasian, who promptly drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
The Falcons stole the ball back, leading to a basket from Tahmasian from short distance. Lakewood then missed a corner three, after which Tahmasian made a bucket in the paint while being fouled. He hit the free throw and the lead was in double digits for the first time with 3:45 remaining.
Lakewood, the regular season runner-up from the Monroe League, broke the run with two free throws with 3:36 to go, and those would be the last points of the contest for the Lancers.
The final eight points of the game came from the Falcons. Armen Yetenekian banked in a shot in the paint. Tahmasian hit another from beyond the arc. Alex Altounian had a layup and Eric Badalian hit a free throw to set the final margin.
Tahmasian may have been the offensive catalyst in the final period, but it was the consistent offense of Yetenekian that went a long way in keeping Crescenta Valley, ranked No. 15 in the division, out front for the majority of the game.
“I just think I was getting downhill aggressively, and when you do that, it opens up the game for everyone else,” Yetenekian said.
The big man had a game-high 26 points with seven in the first quarter, nine in the second, six in the third and four in the fourth.
“Armen carried us most of the game,” Zargarian said. “Armen consistently helped us stay [in it] and then Sebastian sort of took over at the end.”
Tahmasian finished with 23 points, with 18 of those coming in the second half. Grigoryan had seven points, while Derek Najarian and Julius Washington each contributed five. Logan Freeman added three points, Altounian had two and Badalian one.
In a sloppy first quarter for both teams, Lakewood led for the bulk of the opening period. The visitors’ advantage peaked at six points with 2:15 left in the quarter, but Crescenta Valley finished the first on an 8-0 run. The hosts took their first lead of the playoffs in the final minute when Washington made a 3-pointer off an assist from Grigoryan. It was 13-11 going into the second.
Both offensives got going in the second quarter, with Crescenta Valley outscoring the visitors, 23-21. In a torrid final 2:50 before the break, the teams combined for 23 points, with each squad scoring at least two points each of the last five times they had possession. The final blow was a conventional three-point play by Yetenekian with 2.9 seconds to go, and it was 36-32 in favor of CV at halftime.
The third quarter saw the Lancers close within three on three separate occasions, but the Falcons stayed on top, taking the quarter 16-14.
The back-and-forth continued into the final period before the pivotal final five minutes that saw the Falcons blow open what had been a tight contest.
“Our defense always gives us a chance, and it was nice to keep [Lakewood] at that 54,” Zargarian said.

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