A week after the Falcons boys’ basketball team celebrated wildly on the court after a buzzer-beating win over Arcadia, the mood Wednesday night was instead somber, as Falcons players sat dejected inside the locker room after their Division1A first-round playoff game.
The Quartz Hill Rebels, a team from the Golden League with an 11-15 record, came into the CV gymnasium and showed that a team can’t always be judged by its record, outlasting the Falcons 49-46, to move on to the next round.
CV guard Dylan Kilgour shook off a rusty first half and ended up with 13 points. Forward Christian Misi scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds, and forward Davis Dragovich also had 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. But something was amiss all game.
The Rebels’ size agitated the Falcons from the start. CV committed just 11 turnovers, but there were plenty of other loose balls that the Falcons barely recovered, resulting in poor offensive possessions.
“We just never got into a flow,” said CV Coach Shawn Zargarian. “They were so athletic and physical.”
CV ended its season 20-8, including a commendable 12-2 record in Pacific League.
Zargarian said Rebels guard Wesley Minikwu, who had 14 points, simply “outmuscled” CV guards Cole Currie and Dylan Kilgour.
The game was reminiscent of an earlier season matchup against Pasadena. The Falcons scored only 37 points in that game. Zargarian said the Rebels’ zone defense got to his team.
“We were absolutely horrible against the zone today,” he said. “We didn’t move the ball, we didn’t screen against it … we did a poor job of executing.”
Last week’s hero, sophomore guard Cole Currie, did not have his best game. Currie, who made the game-winner vs. Arcadia, made just one basket all night.
“I don’t know if he took one good-looking shot today,” Zargarian said of Currie. “Dylan was just off, and struggled, but once he gathered himself and took shots and started making them that’s what we expected.”
Indeed, it was Kilgour who brought the Falcons out of their doldrums in the second half. He hit four 3-pointers in the half, including one which cut CV’s deficit to just 38-37 after trailing by as many as seven points
The Falcons then took the lead on a jumper from junior Tade Keshishyan, and another Kilgour 3-pointer made it 42-38 CV, and the fans gave the Falcons a standing ovation.
“I kept shooting. I thought they were going to go in eventually,” said Kilgour. “Coach Z gave me confidence. He told me to keep shooting.”
But the Rebels came back and reeled off eight straight points of their own, including a three by forward Stephan Blidarescu, his only make of the game.
Currie was not put in the fourth quarter until the 2:58 mark.
CV trailed 49-46 with 24.3 seconds left. Dragovich lobbed the ball inbounds to Misi, who caught it like a wide receiver, but missed a contested reverse layup. Zargarian did not like Misi’s shot selection.
“The design on [that play] was to get Christian on a backdoor,” Zargarian said. “Davis made a great pass, Christian made a great catch, I just … maybe his footing was off or what, but he just shot the ball backwards.”
The Falcons still had one last chance when the Rebels’ Lucciano Gamiz missed his free throw and the ball came to Dragovich with the clock winding down. But Dragovich launched a 3-pointer that missed badly, and the Rebels grabbed the rebound with two seconds left, and that was it.
Maybe the Falcons would have responded better if they were healthy this week. Zargarian said illness hit his team, and some were not able to practice for a couple of days.
“We never got a chance to work on [our preparation] in practice with our guys there, and I think that kind of hurt us.”
Still, Zargarian said it was a good season.
“This is back-to-back 20-win season for us. That’s something to hold your head up about,” Zargarian said.
“I would never measure how good we are on that last game.”
Kilgour looked upset after the game, and said it was a tough way to send out the seniors. But he, Currie, Misi and Dragovich are returning. Falcon basketball doesn’t look like it will have a drop-off next season.
“We’re all friends; we’re all going to keep pushing each other,” Kilgour said.
“Our key guys are coming back and with their work ethic hopefully they’ll be better,” Zargarian said.