Boys’ basketball loses out on a league title, and must defeat Arcadia on senior night for another 20-win season.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Pacific League opponents know life holds these certainties: death, taxes and the Pasadena Bulldogs will win league every February.
It officially happened again on Tuesday night in the Bulldogs’ gymnasium against the Crescenta Valley Falcons.
The Falcons put up a much better effort at Pasadena Tuesday night than in years past, but still came away defeated, 75-68. The win for Pasadena clinched their ninth straight Pacific League championship. CV had to win Tuesday and today against Arcadia to tie the Bulldogs.
Andre Spight, a transfer this season from Burbank High, led the way for Pasadena (19-5, 12-1 in league) with 29 points and four assists.
Before the season, not many observers would have predicted the Falcons’ boys basketball team worthy competitors to dethrone the Bulldogs. As recently as two weeks ago, that changed.
The Falcons had a win under their belt against Pasadena at home, and if they could just take everyone else, they would at least tie for a league title, their first since 2004.
But things haven’t gone CV’s way recently. It started with a heartbreaking overtime loss on Jan. 25 to Muir, and five days later they were smashed against Hoover, a 64-53 loss that wasn’t that close. The Hoover loss was CV’s second in three games, and gave the edge for league back to Pasadena.
CV now has lost three of its last five games heading into the season finale tonight against Arcadia at CV High School. The Falcons (19-7, 10-3 in league) can still clinch their fourth straight 20-win season under Coach Shawn Zargarian. They must win to secure a second-place league finish over Muir.
Turnovers killed the Falcons on Tuesday. They committed 25 of them overall, nine of them in the third quarter, which was their best chance to make a comeback. They trailed 40-26 at halftime, and did a decent job of not letting Pasadena run away with it, but errant passes from CV and active hands by the Bulldogs always ended any momentum CV tried to gain.
At the end of the third quarter, the deficit had only been cut by one point.
“You’re not going to come back from a 14-point deficit against a great team like Pasadena,” said Zargarian. “I pride my kids on playing hard and staying in there and fighting, but it was too much of a hole to come back from.”
Pasadena also had 18 offensive rebounds, which is more impressive considering their best post player Brandon Jolley sat this one out.
Senior Falcon guard Cole Currie had 20 points, 17 of them in the second half. He made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, reminding Falcons fans of what won’t be there next year when the team needs a rallying spark.
“I’m trying not to think about it,” Zargarian said of Cole’s last few games. “I start thinking what it’s going to be like when he’s done after his last game, and what the locker room is going to be like.”
Junior guard Nick Springer led CV with 21 points, often muscling his way inside for baskets. Springer’s shot hadn’t been falling the past few games, and Zargarian said he plays better when plays aren’t designed specifically for him.
“I think Nick loose, relaxed is much better …. He’s better when he’s just able to play and he was able to do that tonight,” Zargarian said.
The Falcons could never get the game closer than six points in the fourth quarter, and they couldn’t seem to foul anyone besides Perris Hicks to beat them at the free-throw line. Hicks made 10 of 13 foul shots in crunch time. Springer and Kris Jabourian both fouled out in the final minutes by hacking Hicks.
Tonight is senior recognition night, which will start at 6:30 p.m. Along with Currie and Jabourian, Elliot Wilson, Ryan Schloessmann, Narbeh Grigorian, Elio Sabo and Kevin Yoo will be recognized for their participation in the basketball program.
UPDATE: Before a packed house at CV High School on Thursday, the Falcons defeated Arcadia High School, 78-47. CV finishes the regular season 20-7 overall, and 11-3 in the Pacfic League.
Playoff seeding, including game times and opponents, will be announced next week.