Falcons Have a Blast Against Nitros
BOYS: CV starts slow, then dominates as Currie shows aggressive side.
By Brandon HENSLEY
A lesson in Greek mythology played out Tuesday night in the CV High School gym. The Glendale Nitros brought their two-pronged attack in the form of guard Sevan Pogosyan and center David Yetenikyan, but the Falcons played the role of Hydra, the multiple-headed beast that sprouts new heads if one was to be cut off.
Translation: CV’s offensive was much more versatile, and it finally showed after a slow start as the Falcons won their Pacific League opener 69-50, continuing their stellar play in the 2011-12 season.
Different parts of the Falcons’ starting five took turns doing damage throughout the game and forward Christian Misi’s jump shot in the third quarter gave them a 54-36 lead and deflated Glendale once and for all.
It took a while for them to get going, as Glendale struck early blows first with Yetenikyan, who scored nine points in the first quarter. Whether Misi or center Rudy Avila guarded him, it didn’t seem to bother the 6-foot-6 Yetenikyan or his turnaround jumper.
But junior guard Cole Currie was aggressive as well. He also scored nine points in the quarter, intent on getting looks close to the basket. He finished with 15 points and added two steals.
“It was a concerted effort,” Currie said of his play. “I haven’t been playing that well … so I made it a point that I’m just going to shoot.”
It was a five-point lead for the Falcons (12-2, 1-0) after one quarter and thanks to the shooting of Dylan Kilgour – he finished with 13 points and made all three of his attempts from beyond the arc – they had a 40-30 lead at halftime.
All of this despite the dynamic play of Pogosyan. The lightning-quick senior guard scored 10 points in the second quarter and finished with a game high 23 points. CV Coach Shawn Zargarian said the scouting report was geared toward stopping Yetenikyan and Pogosyan.
“Some of the shots both of them made in the second half were pretty tough shots. I thought our guys did a decent job of getting hands up,” Zargarian said. They’re both very good players and they’re both a handful.”
“It was tough because their offense was all through [Pogosyan],” Currie said. “So, they’ll run him through screens … I think our guys did for the most part a pretty good job. He got off in the second quarter a little bit, made a run with him, but for the most part we did a pretty good job.”
But CV’s offensive monster was too much for Glendale (4-8, 0-1). Misi led the way in the third with six points (he finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds) and the Falcons’ lead ballooned to 56-36. Although CV forward Davis Dragovich missed several layups throughout the game, he scored in every quarter and totaled a team-high 18 points.
“They’re kind of doing what they’ve done all year,” Zargarian said of his two forwards. “The nice thing is there were a few guys that had great games; Cole made some big plays, Dylan did a great job defensively shutting down [Pogosyan].”
Zargarian, though, is still perplexed at his team’s insistence to come out of the gate cold.
“That’s kind of been our issue all year, we’re coming out flat in games,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, I don’t understand it. We’re just flat and we don’t have a lot of energy and it kind of sneaks up, but against good teams you can’t come out flat.”
But the Falcons will take this victory, the first in a league schedule in which they expect to compete with Pasadena for a title. The key for the players is to not get too excited and look ahead on the schedule. Zargarian wants them to take it one day at a time – like always.
“It’s funny because we just had on the board the number ‘one’ and we just crossed it off and said this one’s under our belt and now we have to move on to Burbank,” he said.
Fast Break Points
• After Currie scored against two defenders in the third, he came up limping, favoring his left ankle. He had it wrapped after the game, but did his best Kobe Bryant impression in shrugging off any notion it’s something to worry about: “I just rolled it a little bit. [It’s] not too bad.”
• Newcomer to the team, sophomore Nick Springer, came into the game with the outcome decided, but made his presence felt nonetheless. Less than a minute after checking in, he went free along the baseline and picked up a Currie miss and laid it in. Springer scored again before the game was over.
• The Falcons have now beaten Glendale in five consecutive meetings.
• The Falcons offense continues to be red hot. They have only scored less than 60 points two times all season.
GIRLS: Davis’ last-second free throws lift Lady Falcons to dramatic win over Glendale
By Brandon HENSLEY
Was that a rugby match or a basketball game between the Lady Falcons and Nitros Tuesday night? If you listened to Falcons Coach Jason Perez in his postgame comments, it sounded like he couldn’t decide.
No matter to the Falcons now. They escaped the Glendale gym with a league-opening win on the road 38-35 in a game that featured a sloppy, frenzied finish.
After letting a six-point fourth quarter lead turn into a one-point deficit with less than a minute left, the Falcons received a big contribution from their smallest player.
Point guard Catherine Davis, who stands at 5-feet-4, sank two free throws with 11.7 seconds left to give CV a 36-35 lead, and center Samira Seraji added two more free throws and Glendale’s last-second heave from half court was no good.
Both Serji and sophomore guard Ella Stepanian scored 13 points, and that was good enough for the Falcons, who participated in a second half rife with turnovers and rough play. Any other game, it’s probable Glendale would have been called for a few more pushing and slapping fouls, but not on this night.
“They’re tough, kind of a scrappy-type team … if you play sloppy basketball, they’re going to be able to [turn the game] into what they want it to be, and you’ll find yourself in that type of game,” Perez said.
“They had to play physical in order to stop us from scoring,” Stepanian said. “We had a size advantage. There probably were a few hand-checks in there, but it’s basketball, it’s a tough game. We just had to get through it.”
CV (9-4, 1-0) led 28-22 going into the fourth quarter. Seraji exchanged baskets with Glendale’s Kris Zadourian (10 points overall). Seraji, the team’s biggest player at 5’ 11”, continually forced her way inside to set up her favorite move, a turnaround left-handed shot. She banked one in to give CV a 34-29 lead.
But Zadourian, who had scored Glendale’s previous basket, hit a 3-pointer to bring her team within two with under two minutes remaining. With 38 seconds left, Zadourian converted a three-point play after being fouled by Seraji, and Glendale had 35-34 lead.
Stepanian was matched-up against Zadourian all night, and it was clear those two were the best athletes on the floor.
“I saw her as good competition. I felt like we needed to play tough for our teams,” Stepanian said.
But it was the diminutive Davis who drew a blocking foul and went to the line with 11.7 seconds left. She calmly sank both attempts. Did Stepanian think Davis would make them?
“Oh, no doubt, I knew it for sure.”
Glendale was called for a double dribble on its next possession.
“We switched to zone, we made a little switch on our defense,” Perez said.
Then Seraji was fouled and expanded the lead the 38-35. She had six points in the final frame, and finished with six rebounds as well. Davis had six points overall with two steals and two assists.
“Today [Samira] was a stud,” Perez said. “Sam won us that game. That’s just what it is; Sam was the best player on the floor tonight.”
Perez also noted the physical play of Glendale (6-6, 0-1), which made it hard for the fourth quarter to have any kind of flow.
“The game was officiated the way Glendale needed it to be,” he said. “That’s what’s going to happen when we play at Glendale. You have to be calm, composed and able to stay focused.
“When we lose to Glendale, it’s usually because we don’t put them away when we have the opportunity.”
CV lost at Glendale last year 57-50.
After a down season last year in which CV went 13-14 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, the team is already at nine wins, and it’s mostly due to the tandem of Stepanian and Seraji.
“If we get the ball into Sam, it’s a powerhouse, so we’re going to keep on getting it in to her,” Stepanian said.