Photos and story by Brandon HENSLEY
The Crescenta Valley girls’ basketball team just completed a week of huge accomplishments, culminating in a Pacific League championship Thursday night with a 49-44 home win over Arcadia.
With the win, the Falcons (17-9, 9-3 in league) clinched their first outright league title since 2004.
Caity Bouchard put up 16 points, and Rachel Dayag scored 10. Bouchard was hot in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points.
“This was really important to us, and we all really wanted it. So when we won, we accomplished our goal. It was exciting,” said Bouchard, a sophomore who is a focal part of Head Coach Jason Perez’s offense.
Then again, so is Dayag, a junior, and if you ask Dayag, so is everyone. The Falcons won the CIF Division 1-A championship last year, the first ever title for either basketball program at CVHS. Much of that playoff success was due to center Alisa Shinn and guard/forward Josie Brock. Since those two graduated last year, it’s been a team effort to be this successful in 2017.
“This year, we’re mainly a guard set, but we still have good bigs, so we always can rely on them,” Dayag said.
Even with their lack of size, Dayag said Perez knew they could compete this season if everyone played for each other. As CV gradually pulled away from Arcadia, it was clear there is no standout player that Perez goes to like in the past for players such as Cassie Pappas or Ella Stepanian.
It’s taken everyone to win league, including contributors Senayt Tassew, Polin Megerdichian, Sarah Perez and Dayag’s sister Denise.
“We’re one of the smallest teams in league, but [Perez] said we could do it if we play our game,” Dayag said.
The girls beat Burroughs on Tuesday to assure themselves at least a share of league. In that game, Bouchard made a game-tying three pointer at the buzzer, and Crescenta Valley dominated overtime for a 54-46 win. It was the team’s first win over Burroughs since 2010, and it ended the Indians’’ four-year run as league champs.
“We haven’t beaten Burroughs in a long time. That was a main accomplishment,” Bouchard said.
Both her and Dayag have played together for years, either in travel ball and on the Rosemont Middle School team, and both say their chemistry is a huge reason why CV feels good heading into the playoffs next week.
“We’ve been playing together for so long, we have such good chemistry,” Bouchard said. “When we’re on the court, we already know what each other are going to do. [Rachel’s] an amazing shooter and amazing player.”
It’s not just about Bouchard. Tassew and Denise has also played with them for years.”
“Honestly, they’re all my family. I love these girls. It’s nice playing the sport we all love, playing and working together,” Dayag said.