Burroughs Boys’ Basketball Stumbles Against Crescenta Valley

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The task at hand of playing several elite nonleague teams served a purpose.

The Burroughs High boys’ basketball team competed against elite programs like Providence and powerhouse Harvard-Westlake with the idea of preparing it for the peaks and valleys that might be encountered in the competitive Pacific League.

Host Burroughs met one of the league’s top squads in Crescenta Valley on Friday night.

Burroughs stayed close with visiting Crescenta Valley early in the fourth quarter before falling, 74-54, in front of a boisterous crowd.

The Bears (7-4, 1-2 in league) had four players tally 10-or-more points, yet couldn’t catch the experienced Falcons (9-3, 3-1).

“We played well tonight at times and I still feel like we are in a good place,” said Burroughs coach Malique Johnson, who took over after coach Austin Pope was fired earlier in the season. “I want to keep the same standards that Austin set coming into the season and try to make our team better.

“You go up against a team like Crescenta Valley that’s always going to put a good team out there. You learn from teams like that.”

Burroughs pulled to within 58-52 on a layup by Landon Everhart with 5:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. Crescenta Valley finished the 32-minute contest on a 16-2 run to capture the first of two season meetings against Burroughs.

A layup by Michael Sahagian gave the Falcons a 66-54 advantage with 2:33 to play.

“We got it down to six points early in the fourth quarter,” Johnson said. “Then we started to make some mistakes and it got away from our guys. We just have to clean up those mistakes.”

Jacob Samontina connected on a three-pointer with 1:33 left in the first half to bring the Bears to within 33-27, but Crescenta Valley’s Vaughn Zargarian completed the first half scoring by grabbing an offensive rebound and converting on a layup with 33 seconds to go to give the Falcons a 37-29 halftime lead.

Zargarian finished with a game-high 20 points. The Falcons received 14 points from Sahagian, 12 apiece from Logan Freemon and Derek Najarian and nine from Nick Altounian.

Chase Kardosh led the Bears, who are 1-3 in their last four games, with 14 points. Elijah Orjuela added 13 points for Burroughs, which got 10 points each from Samontina and Landon Everhart and seven from Jagger Topp.

Burroughs and Crescenta Valley will tip off again at Crescenta Valley on Jan. 23.

Burroughs will take on Hoover in a league road tilt on Thursday.

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