Trabuco Hills worn down, falls to Crescenta Valley


MISSION VIEJO – Trabuco Hills boys basketball coach Sean Sullens knew that if his team were to advance to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1A playoffs, it would have to slow the pace despite Crescenta Valley’s press defense.

Getting the ball up court wasn’t the issue, but attacking against the Falcons’ half-court defense proved troublesome, and the Mustangs had to settle for outside shots.

Trabuco Hills went 5 of 21 from 3-point range and missed key free throws in the second half, leading to a 43-36 loss in the first round Wednesday night.

“We had opportunities, but we missed the front end of one-and-one (free throws),” Sullens said. “At home, there’s no excuse for that. We needed someone to step up.”

On top of the offensive troubles, the Mustangs (16-12) struggled to contain Crescenta Valley guard Arin Ovannesian, who hit six 3-pointers, including four for the Falcons’ first 12 points.

Trabuco Hills held a brief one-point lead in the third quarter before Ovannesian hit his final two long-distance shots to swing momentum back to the Falcons (20-8).

Ovannesian led all scorers with 22 points and went 6-for-7 on 3-pointers.

“It’s what we expected out of him,” Falcons coach Shawn Zargarian said. “I thought he would see more pressure. If you get Arin a couple looks like that and he knocks them down, it could be a long night.”

Camren Panganiban did his best to keep Trabuco Hills in the game. He scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the first half, and the Mustangs trailed at halftime, 20-19.

Quentin Watts hit a 3-pointer and followed it up with jumper to give Trabuco Hills a one-point lead. Ovannesian responded by scoring eight of his team’s 12 third-quarter points.

Crescenta Valley’s aggressive defense wore down the Mustangs in the fourth quarter. Trabuco Hills often missed short on shots and went 2 of 12 from the floor in the final quarter.

The Mustangs made seven of 16 free throws.

“Myself, as well as my seniors, I’m sure would have liked to end the season with a little more consistency down the stretch,” Sullens said. “But when you’re playing good teams, that’s going to happen.

“We went through long stretches where we couldn’t get baskets and that’s what it came down to.”

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