CV made quite the run this year, but just like last season the most memorable moment happened on Senior Night.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Falcons’ guard Cole Currie said before the season his team could win a CIF section title. Coach Shawn Zargarian said this was his most talented team since he took over as head coach in 2005. So it wasn’t just that hopes were high, but expectations were as well.
In the end, the Falcons did not win CIF, but they came close. They won 23 regular season games, earning their third straight 20-win season. They were the fourth seed in the Division 1A playoffs, and advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to top-seeded Mission Viejo 65-60.
CV still advanced to the state tournament, but they lost No. 1 seed Mater Dei, a perennial powerhouse on the preps basketball scene. The final score of 66-47 was closer than it suggested; the Falcons actually had a small lead in the third quarter.
Still, the 2011-12 season will be remembered as one of the best in the program’s history. CV made it further than any team had since 1994, when the Falcons lost in the CIF Southern Section title game.
If you’re looking for a defining moment on the season, one that strips everything else away and shows how beautiful high school basketball can be, the game to talk about was at CV High on Feb. 3, Senior Night against Pasadena.
Pasadena came in having previously roughed up CV earlier this season. They had won every Pacific League title since 2005, and CV had not beaten them since 2004. The league title was technically alive for CV. The Bulldogs went on to win the Division III championship this year, so all things considered, it was a pretty big game.
The Bulldogs controlled most of the game, but were never able to put CV completely away. Down 60-58 with just under 20 seconds left, the Falcons took the ball out from half court. It came to forward Davis Dragovich up top, and Currie set a down screen for Christian Misi. Misi, who was named to the 2011-12 All-CIF First Team, spotted up beyond the arc and received the pass. His shot just cleared the reach of defender Raymond Jackson and went through the net with six seconds left, and the gym exploded in delirium. The Bulldogs didn’t get a shot off on their possession and CV won 61-60.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. Last February on Senior Night vs. Arcadia, Currie was the one who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 69-68 win. It happened in front of the Falcons’ bench, almost the same spot where Misi hit his shot. Two heroic moments exactly one year apart.
With seven seconds left and down by two points, Currie took the inbounds pass from the Arcadia baseline and weaved his way frantically to the other side. Defender Kiran Koneru tried his best, but Currie was able to pull up from 3-point range and get off an unbalanced shot. It hit the back of the net before it went in.
Dragovich: “I think we tried to do an on-ball screen between Christian and Cole. I don’t think we had another timeout in the Arcadia game. Cole stuck a three before that, actually. I think we just went with it and see what we could get.”
Assistant head coach Matt Reid: “We tried to draw something up … with six seconds there’s nothing you could do, you go and try to get a good look.”
Dragovich: “With Cole’s, I was confident it was going in because he was pretty hot the whole game. “
Currie: “I didn’t really see [the shot], but I saw it go in. Thank God.”
Misi: “I saw Cole’s shot at the last second when he released it. I don’t think it was a very good release. He kind of just threw it up a little, so, I didn’t think it was a great shot at the time but it went in, and I didn’t really care.”
Currie: “When I went to class, each period I got a standing ovation.”
Against Pasadena, there was more time left on the clock, but sharp shooter Dylan Kilgour had fouled out earlier in the fourth quarter. During the timeout Dragovich came to the bench and called the play himself, which was designed for Misi. The coaches let it ride.
Reid: “During the timeout I looked at Misi, and he had this look in his eye like, ‘I’m going to make it.’ Kind of the same look that Cole had.”
Dragovich: “I think Christian was a little bit nervous … [Jackson] was closing out too, and I think that was in the back of everyone’s mind.”
Misi: “It didn’t work perfectly, but I was open for a little bit and I got the shot off.”
Currie: “I think this one was so emotional because it was Pasadena … it was so emotional that win. I think that was bigger than Arcadia.
Dragovich: “We hadn’t beaten Pasadena in such a long time. We wanted to and that was such a big win for us and we felt like we played so well in that game. I hate to say this but I think Christian’s was a little better.”
Reid: “Being Pasadena, we hadn’t beaten them in so long, you know, Misi being a freshman and losing to them every year, and finally, we did it on the eighth try against them.”
Misi: “When you win a game like that you have so many emotions and you’re so happy … the whole time I was out of my mind … I got a lot of congratulations. I didn’t get a standing ovation but all of my teachers played the YouTube video.”
And really, what’s better these days than being able to show off a game-winner on YouTube?
Maybe next year on Senior Night it will be someone else.