Falcons are 3-0 in league, including a win at Muir and a tough one vs. Burbank on Wednesday
By Brandon HENSLEY
If pressure over time creates diamonds, then this was certainly a jewel of a win for Crescenta Valley basketball.
The Falcons were overmatched in the opening half Wednesday night against the Burbank Bulldogs; outmuscled, outhustled. They didn’t even score a field goal in the second quarter (they settled for seven free throws).
But down 30-18 heading into the third quarter, something changed, and gradually the Falcons pushed back and showed strength of their own. They came around to looking like the team that went into Muir last Friday and beat the Mustangs, the team that easily handled the Glendale Nitros on Monday.
They can mostly thank Nick Springer, though.
Springer, a junior shooting guard, lived up to his position by scoring 28 points, 22 of them in the second half, as CV erased a 14-point deficit and beat Burbank 60-54. The win moved the Falcons to 3-0 in the Pacific League, 12-4 overall.
“We just wanted it more than they did,” said Springer, who added 10 rebounds. “That team came out and played really hard. They were scrappy, but it turned out we wanted it more, and we don’t lose on our home court.”
In fact, the Falcons are undefeated at home and at designated road games. Their only losses have come in neutral sites at tournament games. Burbank dropped to 1-2 in league, 9-7 overall.
The Bulldogs aren’t a big team, but they’re tough. CV Coach Shawn Zargarian said in the first half he felt like his team was getting bumped and settling for jump shots offensively. On the defensive end, Burbank was patient enough to find opportunities down low because its outside shot wasn’t falling.
“Burbank hit three 3’s the entire game. They killed us in the paint,” Zargarian said. “They threw up shots in the paint that went in, and if they didn’t go in, we watched, and they were bringing five [guys].”
Aside from the Falcons not scoring a field goal in the second quarter, they also committed five turnovers to none for Burbank.
Something had to change in the second half, and Zargarian said CV was simply more aggressive. Guard Cole Currie bullied his way to the foul line where he made eight free throws the last two quarters. The Bulldogs made it a point to hound Currie as much as possible, and as a result his shot was off for most of the night. Currie ended up with 21 hard-earned points.
Then the focus turned to the perimeter, and that’s when Springer got going. A 14-point deficit was cut to nine at the end of the third thanks to Springer outside shot. He then scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. His weak-side rebounding was also key in helping the Falcons’ second-chance opportunities.
Point guard Berj Krikorian hit Currie with a backdoor pass that led to a layup to put CV up 56-54 with 45 seconds left. After a Burbank turnover, Currie hit two free throws to ice the game, and Springer made a layup as time expired.
Springer was mostly a no-show on Monday at Glendale. Zargarian yelled at him as he took him out it the first half and questioned if his head was in the game. Springer returned to hit two 3-pointers in the second half, a 61-50 CV win, but Wednesday was his time to shine.
Zargarian also teaches biology and Springer is in his fourth period class. Zargarian said he asked Springer on Wednesday if he wanted to be good or great.
“Great, coach,” replied Springer.
“Last year, if I had ripped him a few times like I have this year he would have completely shut down and probably not gone back in the game. But we see the maturity in him,” Zargarian said.
Last month, Springer was adamant his game was simply a part of the team basketball the Falcon program is known for. He reiterated it this week.
“We finally came together and closed out the game,” he said. “That what we’re supposed to do. That’s CV basketball.”
Fast Break Points
• Currie is still unquestionably the go-to man for CV. So far in three league games he’s averaging 28 points. He scored 21 points in the first half against Glendale, which as a team had 21 points at that point.
• Junior starting Center Eric Patten played briefly Wednesday and none at all on Monday. He is nursing a turned ankle. Ryan Schloessmann has started in his place.
• Springer and Currie scored 49 of the team’s 60 points against Burbank. The next highest point man was Arin Pezeshkian with six points.
• CV plays Friday at Burroughs High School at 7 p.m. Burroughs is 11-4, 1-2 in league.