By Brandon HENSLEY
The calendar may say it’s a new year, but inside the Burroughs High gymnasium Tuesday night, the scene was an all too familiar one from years gone by.
There were the Crescenta Valley Falcons, taking an early lead. There they were building on that lead with outside shooting and stellar post play. And in the end, there they were running the Indians off the floor in another lopsided victory, again.
The Falcons’ 79-46 defeat of the Indians continued a recent string of dominance over their Pacific League rivals. CV has won the last five meetings between the two and has scored at least 70 points the last four times against Burroughs. The average margin of victory in those four games is 27.2 points.
The main damage done on Tuesday was that by junior center Christian Misi who had 27 points and 12 rebounds. With sophomore guard Cole Currie’s shot off early (he finished with 13 points), Misi took advantage of Burroughs’ lack of size down low for second chance opportunities.
Burroughs pressed throughout the game, and Misi was also able to get open layups once the Falcons successfully moved the ball through the pressure.
The game was the opener for Pacific League play for both teams. Perhaps it was by the grace of the scheduling gods that the Falcons were able to play the Indians, who are now 2-11 overall, and put the memory of their last game behind them. CV lost to league rival Muir by 18 points in a tournament game on Dec. 30.
“You don’t want to start out 0-1,” said Misi afterward. “It’s league now. Every game counts.”
Both teams opened the game in a press, but Misi didn’t seem troubled by it. The Falcons took a 21-13 lead after the first quarter led by Misi’s 10 points.
“We felt like we had a size advantage on Burroughs tonight and I think Misi did a good job exploiting it,” said Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian. “He offensive-rebounded the ball well, he finished around the rim. He’s a good three-point shooter but I think he did a good job of staying with what was working which was staying around the basket tonight.”
The Falcons’ defense clamped down in the second, creating numerous turnovers and frustrating the Indians’ attempts at getting open. In the quarter, Burroughs guard David Shaw could be heard yelling, “Let’s get open, let’s go!” to his team after a failed offensive sequence.
In the second half, the game turned into a laugher. The highlight play came when Falcons guard Dylan Kilgour, who finished with 12 points, ran down a long pass just before the ball went out of bounds, hugged the sideline and gave a behind the back pass to center Rudy Avila, who was hustling down and cut to the basket. The CV bench stood and cheered, and by the end of the third, the lead was 61-36.
All of this despite the best efforts of Indians center Jorge Flores-pere, who almost kept pace with Misi by scoring 23 points.
The Falcons are now 9-5 overall. A playoff team from last year, Misi said he expects them to keep getting better. That may be easier said than done as two of their two stars, Nick Dragovich and Coltrane Powdrill, graduated last spring.
“Cole, Davis (Dragovich), a lot of guys have stepped up and we worked hard over the preseason and the summer so I think it’s starting to show, and hopefully it won’t drop from last year,” said Misi, who left the game with over five minutes to go.
If their play doesn’t drop it will be because of Misi and Currie, both underclassmen. Currie, just a freshman last year, has already had a game in which he scored over 30 points. The inside-outside game from the two players should have the Falcons in the hunt in a tough Pacific League.
“I think Cole and Christian are doing a good job of taking the steps and doing the right thing as far as being leaders and guys who are dictating what happens on the floor,” said Zargarian.
Misi at least has his own personal goals laid out: “At least a double-double every game.”
The Falcons will host Burbank High School (9-5, 0-1 in league) on Friday, with another chance to put the Muir game further behind them, until they play them again.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Zargarian said of the road ahead. “Muir kicked our butt but all we’re focused on is Friday night [against] Burbank. We don’t want to look too far ahead and worry about stuff.”