»CV basketball beats Arcadia and Glendale this week to improve to 8-0 in Pacific League.
By Brandon HENSLEY
It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, was it?
The Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball team is more than halfway done with its Pacific League campaign, and the Falcons have remained unblemished so far; eight games, eight wins, the only team in league to boast that feat.
They’ve been tested a few times – a bad first half put them in a hole against Burbank, a matchup with reigning league champion Pasadena, a road game against Muir – but passed every one.
The team that was supposed to (probably? maybe?) take a step back this season due to losing the core group that won 26 games in 2011-12 is still motoring along. After beating Arcadia last Friday and Glendale on Tuesday at home, CV pushed its overall record to 17-4. A fourth consecutive 20-win season for Coach Shawn Zargarian seems like a lock now.
But there are still six games to go before any playoff talk can be uttered. Muir comes in on Friday, and the Falcons have to travel to Pasadena in a couple of weeks – a place they’ve struggled mightily in recent years.
“We feel like we’re together as a team,” said Zargarian. “Our chemistry is really good … the good thing about our guys, they’re still very focused, they’re still understanding what we need to do, so Friday night [against] Muir, it’s a huge game.”
Tuesday’s game, a 48-36 Falcon win, could have been treated like a practice session. Glendale offered little resistance early. The Nitros didn’t score from the field in the first quarter – two free throws – their first basket being a layup by Vahe Aristakessian with 4:25 left in the second quarter.
Glendale (8-12, 3-5 in league) scored more points in the third quarter (10) than it did in the entire first half (9). By the time the fourth quarter came, CV had a 40-19 lead and rested starters Cole Currie and Nick Springer. Zargarian said Currie has been dealing with “tight legs” this week.
It’s not as if CV’s offense was firing on all cylinders, though. The first matchup with Glendale, a 61-50 win earlier this month, saw Currie score 34 points as he drove the lane off of high screens for easy buckets.
This time around, Currie, the team’s leading scorer, had eight points. Instead, the Falcons were perimeter-oriented early on. All of their 15 points in the first quarter came on 3-pointers.
But they’re overall shooting wasn’t sharp, and in the second half CV pounded Glendale inside. Forward Kris Jabourian (a team-high 15 points) and Eric Patten (six points) led the way down low, although it still wasn’t much. The Falcons had scored at least 57 points in every league game until Tuesday.
“That’s why in the third and fourth [quarters] we really tried to get Eric Patten the ball, drive more and get an inside game going,” Zargarian said of the inconsistent shooting. “We shoot it, and we shoot pretty decently, but you have to have a counter to it.”
Sharing the ball is fine with the whole team, said sophomore guard Berj Krikorian.
“Nobody cares about how much they score or how many shots they get, so I think that’s a big part of our success so far,” he said.
This is Krikorian’s first year on varsity, and he’s been given more playing time as the season has progressed. His play against Pasadena helped keep the Falcons in the game, and when Currie went out for long stretches on Tuesday, he was there to handle leadership duties on the court.
Krikorian said playing with Currie has helped him become a better player and leader, and that he’s encouraged to yell at upperclassmen in practice if guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. He said he was nervous at first to do so, “But I know I’m doing it for the team, because not doing it would be a selfish act.”
Zargarian said it’s not only Currie who’s tending to some physical problems. He said a couple other players are battling sickness and so it’s been nice to have some extra rest. This is the first week of league that CV plays two games instead of three.
Because of the hectic schedule, Zargarian said his practices are less intense than they were earlier in the year, and that he’s shortened the hours from over two to about one.
“A lot of shooting. A lot of fundamentals,” he said of practice. “Skill work, and then we try and do more walkthrough-type stuff, breaking down our offense and defense.”
Fast Break Points
- The Falcons are first in the Pacific League at 8-0, followed by Pasadena at 7-1. Arcadia is the only team without a win in league. CV is ranked second behind El Toro in the Southern Section 1A standings, according to maxpreps.com.
- CV hosts Muir Friday at 7 p.m. It’s also Falcon Basketball Youth Night. Children under 12 get in free with a paid adult. There will be a drawing for prizes such as a week at Coach Zargarian’s summer basketball camp and a basketball signed by the varsity players.