Boys’ basketball team cools off after getting handled by both Pasadena schools.
By Brandon HENSLEY
The Falcons boys’ basketball team stumbled through two games this past week against Pasadena and Muir high schools, and if other teams in the Pacific League were paying attention, they could see a possible chink in the CV armor. Or perhaps that’s a huge dent.
Tuesday night’s 76-56 loss to Muir put the Falcons on a two-game losing streak and had Coach Shawn Zargarian questioning what exactly has happened after his team started league play with four straight wins. CV lost at Pasadena last Friday 80-59.
“We’re not ourselves right now, and I don’t know what it is,” Zargarian said. “We’re taking a lot of bad shots. We’re not making the extra pass. We don’t have any kind of defensive energy.”
Of course, this all might have something to do with the level of competition. Muir and Pasadena are the only undefeated teams left in the Pacific League (both 6-0). They meet each other on Friday.
Both teams can match CV’s size, which previously gave the Falcons an advantage over schools like Burroughs and Hoover.
Against Muir, the Falcons’ (15-4, 4-2 in league) early game plan defensively seemed to be to play off Muir’s guards. But Andre Frazier scored eight points in the first quarter and the Mustangs had a 20-18 lead.
When Muir did miss shots, the Falcons gave up too many second-chance opportunities.
“They’re just hungrier,” Zargarian said. “I feel like our guys are watching balls when their guys every time are pursuing and going after it. They outplayed us … in almost every facet of the game tonight.”
The first play of the game was certainly a red herring. Christian Misi took the Rudy Avila tip and quickly passed it to Davis Dragovich for an easy layup. The Falcons had struck with less than five seconds off the clock.
But CV didn’t convert many high percentage shots after that. Dragovich finished with nine points, but could have had several more if not for some blown layups. In all, the Falcons missed 22 shots inside the paint.
“I think it’s going up to the rim, scared that you’re going to get your shot blocked and not finishing at the rim,” Zargarian said. “There’s no way with Davis, Christian and Rudy’s size, we go up to the basket and not finish. [But] we’re always looking over our shoulders.”
Muir led 50-41 heading into the fourth, and the first play of that quarter was evidence enough that this was another night not to be for the Falcons.
Guard Cole Currie came off a screen and nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but Avila was called for an illegal screen. Moments later, Muir’s Jelani Mitchell hit a 3-pointer. By the time it was 66-47, Zargarian had started putting in his reserves.
Mitchell led his team with 19 points, most of them coming in the final quarter.
As he did against Pasadena, Misi led the Falcons in scoring. He had 18 points against the Bulldogs and 20 on Tuesday, to go along with 13 rebounds. But it wasn’t enough. Currie put in 12 points. When CV needed a spark, Currie often went into isolation and rose up to shoot over his defender. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but the Falcons regardless needed better outside shooting.
Guard Dylan Kilgour made two 3-pointers, but missed several more. That won’t stop the Falcons from shooting their way out of this slump, though.
“We’re going to shoot the three. Every single night we’re going to shoot the three,” Zargarian said.
The Falcons still have rematches with both teams, so a league title isn’t out of the question. Zargarian didn’t want to hear any of that, though. Not on this night. He said the team had good practices and meetings on Saturday and Monday, making Tuesday’s effort all the more frustrating.
“We’re not mentally engaged right now,” he said.
Jan. 13: Pasadena 80, CV 59
The Falcons lost their first league game of the season in front of a standing-room only crowd at Pasadena. The Bulldogs had enough size the quickness as CV fell behind 20-13 after one quarter and could not catch up.
Pasadena junior forward Brandon Jolley, all 6-foot-5, 220 pounds of him, beat up CV down low, scoring 17 points. Guard Blake Hamilton scored 18 points.
The game was less chippy than CV’s other affairs with Burbank and Hoover previously, but it was no less physical. The Falcons lost some of their size when center Rudy Avila picked up his fourth foul with more than three minutes to go in the third quarter and had to be benched.
A turning point came in that quarter when, down 50-37, Misi drove the lane was knocked down by two defenders. Zargarian exploded from the bench wanting a foul, though one wasn’t called. Hamilton got the ball all alone at the other end and slammed it home, igniting the crowd.
On Friday, a rivalry is renewed. Maybe it carries less weight this week because CV has lost two in a row, and Arcadia is only 2-3 in league, but the Falcons vs. Apaches is still sure to draw a big crowd to CV’s gym.
Last February at CV, Cole Currie drove the length of the court and hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Falcons a 69-68 win over Arcadia.