Senior guard notches another game-winner in his varsity career, this one over Pasadena.
By Brandon HENSLEY
So sequels are never as good as the originals, huh?
Tell that to everyone inside the Crescenta Valley High School gymnasium Wednesday night, where another physical, emotion-filled varsity basketball game took place between the Falcons and Pasadena Bulldogs.
The scene was oh-so reminiscent of last year’s game at CV, one in which Falcon forward Christian Misi came off a screen to hit a 3-pointer in the waning seconds for the program’s first win over the Bulldogs since 2004.
This time, it was senior guard Cole Currie who came off a screen to hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 25 seconds left after receiving a pass at the top of the key from Berj Krikorian.
Currie’s shot was the difference as the Falcons beat Pasadena 57-54. They now own a two-game winning streak over their rivals.
More importantly, they own a six-game winning streak in the Pacific League. CV improved to 6-0 in league, 15-4 overall.
This one was a defensive battle, and came down to two stands the Falcons had to make to secure the win. Currie’s shot gave CV a 55-54 lead, then Bulldogs went down low to center Brandon Jolley, who had racked up numerous free-throws in the fourth quarter by drawing fouls.
But CV was ready this time. Falcon Coach Shawn Zargarian told his forward Elliot Wilson to front Jolley, and then had instructions for Krikorian, who was guarding Avo Yetenekyan.
“We said if someone’s going to beat us, it’s going to be [Avo], so you’re going on a double team,” said Zargarian.
Krikorian came behind Jolley as he was receiving the pass and stole the ball. Currie got the ball and was fouled. He made two free throws, and the Bulldogs went the length of the court, but Andre Spight’s 3-pointer was no good as time expired.
Zargarian was maybe the only one who didn’t enjoy the action.
“You know, whoever said blowouts aren’t fun is crazy,” he said “These games are stressful. They’re stressful.”
But despite the stress, the Falcons are passing every test thrown at them so far. They dismantled Burroughs and Hoover earlier in the week, winning both games by 33 points.
Pasadena, the reigning Division III-AAA champion, is a different beast. But Zargarian said he and his team didn’t start talking about the game until Tuesday. It’s all part his mentality of taking it one game at a time, something he said his team this year needs to have in order to be successful.
“Each night we step out and this team continues to impress me and surprise with what they do … they’re really a tight group. They’re business-like and they go out there and play hard.”
Currie knows a thing about hitting big shots. As sophomore, his leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer beat rival Arcadia. His shot Wednesday was little bit about redemption — he had air-balled a three moments earlier.
“Just give me another chance,” he said about what was going through his mind. On his redemption shot, he said he knew it was good when it left his hand.
“The Arcadia shot was tougher. This one was easier,” he said. “It was easy for me to get it off. I was open and I knew it was good.”
“To air ball the previous shot and come down and knock it down, that’s what Cole does,” said Zargarian. “He’s a four-year starter; he should be doing that.”
Currie struggled early, and it was up to junior guard Nick Springer to keep CV in the game. Springer has 13 points in the first quarter as the Falcons took a 15-12 lead. Springer finished with a team-high 22 points. Currie had 18.
Jolley led his team with 20 points, a staggering 16 of them from the foul line. CV center Eric Patten fouled out late in the fourth trying to guard him.
“Eric did a great job on [Jolley],” said Springer.
The Falcons go to Arcadia on Friday, an atmosphere that is never kind to them, although that hasn’t stopped CV from beating Arcadia there with regularity. Arcadia was winless in league as of Wednesday. But that doesn’t matter.
“That game is not about records, it’s about pride,” said Zargarian.
Fast Break Points
- The officiating was mostly dubious Wednesday night, on both sides. It was practically worth the price of admission to see how Zargarian acted when he felt a wrong call was being made. One blown call that went against Pasadena occurred in the first quarter when Jolley drove baseline and dunked the ball, only to be called for charging. In Pasadena’s gym, that call probably goes against CV.
- Currie is averaging 22.3 points per game, which leads the team. As a whole, CV is scoring 63.5 points a game and giving up just 47.8 points.
- Krikorian, a sophomore, played almost the entire game, and beside his steal, he made two mid-range jumpers late in the fourth quarter to bring CV back from a deficit. “I think when he looks back after he graduates this might be the game where he grew up,” Zargarian said.