By Brandon HENSLEY
There’s only one month left for returning high school kids to enjoy their summer (isn’t that weird to say?) and this week the varsity basketball team for Crescenta Valley High School finally got its break.
With the team having played 29 games since summer league action began on May 31, Coach Shawn Zargarian called off the six remaining games on the schedule, of which his team is under no obligation to play.
The varsity went an impressive 22-7, including winning its last five in a row. On Tuesday at Burbank High School, the Falcons’ junior varsity squad filled in against a La Cañada team that featured a mix of varsity and JV players.
CV lost 41-32 in a sometimes sloppy affair that included a lot of missed shots. The Falcons only scored 13 points in the second half.
“We couldn’t shoot the ball. We had shooters that couldn’t make shots,” said JV Coach Joe Maniccia. “And we had too many turnovers. We’re still trying to get our guys used to the pace.”
Maniccia’s team dominated last year, going 13-1 in the regular season and winning the Pacific League (lower level teams don’t have playoffs, so the season ended there).
This year a lot of the players, most notably Kevin Dinges, have moved up to the varsity level to play for Zargarian. Maniccia said this summer he’s carrying six freshmen.
“I think the most I’ve ever had [for one year] is four. I usually have one or two,” he said.
Incoming freshman like Kudzai Kachingwe and Trey Ballard were playing for Rosemont Middle School mere months ago. Point guard Journey Shank, whose white goggles might have been the standout of the evening, was in Zargarian’s basketball camp one year ago.
Now they will all most likely head into the school year as JV players.
“I don’t think we intend to make any cuts,” Maniccia said. “It’s a lot of guys, but I don’t think I’ve had so many great players one through 15. It’s an adjustment for me because I’m usually a coach who plays eight guys, and I’m trying to do more than that.”
Maniccia said two players he’s pleased with this summer are Arin Ovanessian and Chris Reik, both incoming sophomores, and both guards/forwards.
“Chris is has gotten much better at playing inside and rebounding,” Maniccia said. “He’s always been a pretty good shooter. Now he’s playing tougher inside.”
Helping out for the second year in a row is assistant Eric Yoo, who played for CV and graduated in 2009.
“I’m like a student almost,” Yoo said. “I’m learning a lot. Coach Maniccia was my coach too when I was on JV, so it’s a lot easier to connect and help him out.”
Yoo said last year’s team was more vocal and energetic, and this year’s team needs to start developing that same attitude. He pointed out after the game that he was loudest on the bench, which he wasn’t happy with.
“Last year we had an aggressive, energetic team,” Yoo said. “We had a mindset that we could win every single game.”
This year, he said, “They’re close. They’re getting along in practice. It’s just, we need to bring it to the court.”
To see more of Dan Holm’s photos, visit www.cvweekly.com or www.danholmphotos.smugmug.com.