By Brandon HENSLEY
The Crescenta Valley High School varsity basketball team has had a rough time of it early on, but Coach Shawn Zargarian isn’t completely displeased with what he’s seeing from his players.
The Falcons dropped their opening game of the non-league season on Monday against Camarillo at the San Fernando Invitational, which is being held at Kennedy High School in Sylmar. CV played against Kennedy on Wednesday night.
The 73-65 loss to Camarillo was technically first of the season, although the Falcons lost a scrimmage to Alemany on Nov. 25 and fell to the CV alumni team in the annual matchup two days later.
“We talk about three things: effort, enthusiasm and energy, and I thought we had all of that,” Zargarian of Monday’s performance.
Zargarian had to settle for liking those intangibles because some of the stats CV had weren’t too great. The Falcons shot just six for 31 from the three-point line and missed eight free throws as well as 10 shots in the paint.
Center Eric Patten had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Kevin Dinges scored 20 points with eight rebounds, but Patten only had one point total in the second and third quarters, and other than guard Arin Pezeshkian’s 13 points, there wasn’t much help on the perimeter.
Zargarian noted despite those offensive shortcomings the Falcons still managed to score 65 points. But they’ve been giving up too many points, including 77 to Alemany and 69 to the alumni.
“We can score, but giving up points in the 70s to any team, you’re not going to have a shot at winning any game,” Zargarian said. “Our goal is to give up points in the 40s, low 50s.”
CV coaches currently think the team is getting too spread out on defense, and when quick guards penetrate inside, the Falcons are too slow to cover the other team’s players slashing to the hoop.
Patten is listed at 6’6” and over 200 pounds, and Dinges is 6’3” at 190 pounds, but the size drops dramatically for CV after that, making it hard to defend and rebound down low.
“We have to find a way,” Zargarian said. “We have to be physical. We can’t go through the whole season saying, ‘We’re too small, we can’t rebound.’ We have to find a way to do it.”
Patten will most likely be the key this year. He’s three-year varsity player who was in and out of the lineup last year with injuries. The Falcons were able to advance far in the CIF playoffs the last two years with either big players or guys with length, like Christian Misi and Nick Springer, but Patten stands out on this team for being the exclusive “big guy.”
“I’m sure [teams will] front him and double-team him, but we have shooters,” Zargarian said, referring to Pezeshkian, Kyle Currie and co-captain Eric Bae.
The Falcons play today through Saturday when they finish the San Fernando Invite, and then through Dec. 10 through Dec. 13 when they host the annual Falcon Classic at Crescenta Valley High School. They are slated to play Verdugo Hills Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.