A new high school girls’ basketball season has started and all eyes will be on Pacific League champion Crescenta Valley. Area rivals Glendale and Hoover will look to topple their neighboring team as the Falcons look to defend their crown. Here is what’s in store for the season.
The Falcons started the regular season with a clear mission: defending their Pacific League title and securing a spot in the CIF Southern Section postseason.
“My expectation for this year’s varsity team is to continue to improve each practice by playing together and believing in each other,” Crescenta Valley head coach Michael Flot said.
Crescenta Valley’s roster boasts just three returners from the previous season’s title-winning team. This includes the lone senior and four-year varsity standout Kylie Ray, who recently committed to the University of Utah. Joining her are returners Kiera Calaguas and Darby Stayton, tasked with providing guidance to the seven freshmen on the roster.
“We see our youth as a big strength for the upcoming season. Having players that are new to this level of competition inherently makes them want to learn as much as possible,” Flot said. “Having seven freshmen in addition to four other newcomers on the team means that we have to improve on anything and everything whenever we can.”
The Falcons (1-0 overall) opened the regular season with a 57-32 victory at La Cañada on Nov. 15; detailed game coverage will be included in next week’s issue of the Glendale News-Press. Crescenta Valley will visit Los Angeles CES for a nonleague game on Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. before visiting Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.
The Nitros tied for fourth in the Pacific League with an 8-6 record and earned a postseason spot that extended to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs. This season, the objectives remain the same: battle for top spot in league and clinch another playoff berth.
“We look forward to a healthy and successful season,” Glendale coach Tadeh Mardirosian said, whose team will be competing in the Division III-AA this season.
Senior captains Sella Koshkerian and Carmen Avedian are poised to play pivotal roles in Glendale’s success, having led the team in various offensive and defensive categories last season.
Mardirosian and the Nitros have highlighted two pivotal league matchups on their calendar: showdowns against Crescenta Valley High and Burroughs High of Burbank, the league’s first and second-place finishers last season, respectively.
“[The] Pacific League is an exciting and tough league to play in,” Mardirosian said. “We always look forward to playing CV and Burroughs. Each game against CV and Burroughs became extremely competitive.”
The Nitros opened the regular season on the right foot with a 43-41 overtime victory against visiting Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy of La Cañada Flintridge on Nov. 13; detailed game coverage will be included in next week’s issue of the Glendale News-Press. Glendale (1-0 overall) will next host Compton for a nonleague game on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.
For the Tornados, things are already looking up under the guidance of first-year head coach Chloris Turner. After finishing last in the Pacific League and winless with an 0-20 overall record last season, Hoover turned the tables with a commanding 58-19 victory over Blair High of Pasadena in the season opener on Nov. 15.
“My overall expectation for us this season is simply to be competitive. We need to compete for 40 minutes from start to finish, regardless of the score,” Turner said. “Some of our goals this season are to continue to develop team chemistry, learn how to play together as one, communicate on both ends of the court and ultimately learn how to trust one another.”
This significant improvement, compared to last season when the team struggled to break the 50-point mark in any game, sets a positive tone for the Tornados.
The roster is young; there is not a single senior. As a result, Turner has appointed juniors Emily Aghazarian and Grace Mardiossian as captains. Additionally, leadership and guidance on and off the court will be provided by sophomore Yeva Awades.
“I encourage the players to share their feedback with one another and not just keep their knowledge of the game to themselves,” Turner said. “We are a young team, and sometimes it’s better for things to come from their peers rather than their coaches all the time.”
Looking ahead, Turner and the varsity squad are eager for league matchups against Pasadena and Glendale, with the latter holding particular significance for intracity bragging rights.
“For the GHS matchup, it’s all the emotions a rivalry brings. The matchup with PHS is somewhat different as it brings back memories [of] my time as a Bulldog during my high school years,” Turner said. “We want to compete, so my expectations are the same regardless of who we’re playing. With that being said, the players understand the assignment when it comes to certain games.”
The Tornados (1-0 overall) will be off the court for Thanksgiving week, but will return from the break competing in the Rosemead Tournament.
First published in the November 18 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.