By Brandon HENSLEY
The thrill of the last two postseasons for the Crescenta Valley High School boys’ basketball team couldn’t be replicated this year after a first-round loss Friday night at CV.
The Falcons, who had made consecutive CIF Division 1A semifinal appearances, were humbled this year in Division 1AA’s opening game against the Orange Lutheran Lancers, which came away with a 59-49 win that was even a bit more convincing than the score read.
The Lancers lost to Long Beach Poly on Tuesday, ending their season.
Orange’s 6’5” forward Rogers Printup, junior guard, scored 19 points to pace his team, while 6’6” forward Keisean Lucier-South, a junior forward had 13 points. Orange’s size was too much for the Falcons, as center Eric Patten was the only one on the team who matched it.
Patten, a senior, was taken out of the game late in the fourth quarter by Coach Shawn Zargarian after he converted a sweeping reverse layup. He finished with 24 points and nine rebounds.
CV won the turnover battle by forcing the Lancers into 15 mistakes, against only five for the Falcons, but that wasn’t the issue. The Lancers were simply too big and hit too many shots, often at midrange or directly under the basket, as CV’s interior defense couldn’t stop them.
The other problem was on offense, as Patten and senior guard Eric Bae (11 points, three 3–pointers) were the only ones to score in double figures. In fact, no one else scored more than five points, which was from backup guard Gio De Guzman. De Guzman seldom plays, and the student section chanted his name as the minutes wound down. Finally, Zargarian put him in, and De Guzman converted a jump shot while being fouled, made his free throw, and then stole the ball and raced down the court and made the layup, much to the delight of the fans and Zargarian himself, who was noticeably happy with De Guzman’s play and effort.
Point guard Berj Krikorian had three assists but just three points. Senior shooting guard Arin Pezeshkian took only one shot and missed it, and junior guard Kyle Currie missed his only two shots. Sophomore Arin Ovanessian, who was called up last month to the varsity, missed his four tries as well. Both Currie and Ovanessian were steady contributors all season, so if they were struggling not only making shots, but just being able to get them off, it wasn’t going to be a good outcome for the Falcons, who trailed by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter.
Still, it was a successful season for the team. The Falcons won a share of the Pacific League championship with Pasadena, going 12-2 in league. They were 20-8 overall in the regular season, which means the program has won 20 games or more for five straight seasons, which Zargarian often mentions as a big accomplishment.
The team loses seniors Patten, Bae, Pezeshkian, Chris Bouchard, whose valuable minutes off the bench certainly sparked the team in January, De Guzman and Taylor Anderson.
Key players returning include Krikorian, who will be in his third year on varsity, Currie, forward Connor Van Ginkel, Ovanessian and Jimmy Smiley.
The Lady Falcons also had their season end last weekend, a home loss in the first round to Los Alamitos on Saturday night 45-41. The hot shooting of Dani Iwami (five 3-pointers for 15 points total) led the way for Los Alamitos and a bad third quarter did in the Falcons.
In that frame, CV scored just five points and committed 12 turnovers. The Falcons led at halftime 24-19, but ended the quarter down 34-29. They eventually tied the game at 40 late in regulation, but the Griffins scored to take the lead. Then, with just under a minute left, Zoe Cooper hit a 3-pointer to make it 45-40, and that effectively ended the game.
CV’s sophomore center Alisa Shinn, who led the team in scoring this year, had a team high 12 points. Senior guard Ella Stepanian had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. Senior guard Tanisha Minasian had eight points.
The Lady Falcons rebounded from a down year in 2012-13 to come back this year and win 20 games. They were second in the Pacific League with an 11-3 record, behind Burroughs.