Falcons lose to No. 1 seed El Toro, ending their run in CIF playoffs.
By Brandon HENSLEY
For the second year in a row, the Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball team traveled to Orange County for a chance to go to the CIF Southern Section Division 1A championship game.
For the second year in a row, it fell short.
The Falcons lost Tuesday night at El Toro High School in the semifinal round 68-38, missing out on their chance to go to the finals for the first time since 1994.
And really, “miss” was the operative word to sum up the game against the Chargers (27-5). The Falcons weren’t flat-out embarrassed in terms of effort – they just couldn’t make shots.
“We hit the double whammy where our offense was absolutely horrible as far as being able to make shots, and defensively we couldn’t contain them,” said Coach Shawn Zargarian.
The game was tied 5-5 after the opening minutes, but then the Chargers scored 15 unanswered points and never looked back. The Falcons relied on outside shooting to get them back into games all season, but it was a different story Tuesday. The Falcons made just six of 30 shots in the first half, and nine of 44 shots (20.4%) through three quarters.
“We came out slow. We didn’t execute on offense, defense, anything,” said senior guard Cole Currie, who finished with 15 points. “That’s what happens. You play a good team, they’ll get you down.”
El Toro, the No. 1 seed in Division 1A, was much more efficient, led by junior Tanner Aguera. He finished with a 20 points coming off the bench, and made six of seven 3-pointers.
Zargarian was impressed with El Toro’s ball movement and unselfishness.
“I think any guy [for them] could score double figures any night, but they’re unselfish,” he said. “They’re willing to move the ball.”
CV junior guard Nick Springer never got going. Springer had scored in double figures in three previous playoff games, but registered only one point Tuesday, which came with 5:47 left in the third quarter. He took just three shots from the field.
“I don’t know that he got a lot of quality shots,” Zargarian said.
Senior forward Kris Jabourian had 10 points for the Falcons, and junior center Eric Pattern had six points and 11 rebounds.
It was 48-29 going into the fourth quarter, and Currie tried to put the team on his back, like he’d done several times in his four-year varsity career. He hit two 3-pointers to open the period to make it 49-35, but Aguera answered back with a three from the top of the key, and CV made only one more field goal the rest of the way.
The El Toro students were in a chipper mood, chanting “Start the buses,” and “Thanks for coming,” throughout the fourth quarter.
The Falcons (23-7) qualified for the state playoffs, just like last year, when they lost to No. 1-ranked Mater Dei. More information on that game will come after the CIF Division playoffs are over this weekend.
But the team’s CIF run is once again over. After losing four starters from last year’s squad, reaching the semifinals can be considered an achievement.
“I will never look back at this game and remember our team for this game,” said Zargarian. “Our team accomplished a lot this year.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud to be a part of any team,” said Currie. “Nobody thought we’d be here. Nobody thought we’d be in this game. To come in second in league and do the things we did, 20 wins again. [I’ve] never been more proud to be a part of any group.”