By Brandon HENSLEY
While the Crescenta Valley Falcons boys’ basketball team slugs its way through the early season, Berj Krikorian made life a little bit easier this week. The junior point guard scored the game-winning layup with three seconds left in overtime Tuesday night to lift CV to a 76-74 victory over the Verdugo Hills Dons in their first game of the Falcon Tipoff Classic. The win improved CV’s record to 3-3 as it headed into its game with La Salle on Wednesday night.
Krikorian had six of his team’s 10 points in the extra frame, although Coach Shawn Zargarian said in those big moments he’d rather the ball go to his best scorers.
“Nothing against Berj and nothing against (guard) Gio (De Guzman) with the ball in their hands, but the two guys we like to get the ball to at the end of the game are Kevin Dinges and Eric Patten,” Zargarian said.
Patten, the senior center, scored 26 points overall, and Dinges, a junior playing his first year on the varsity, had 24 points, including a monstrous second half that saw him net 19 points.
“Eric Patten carried us in the first half; he was a load. Kevin kind of took a back seat and waited, and then in the second half we were able to get Kevin the ball,” Zargarian said.
Zargarian likes the chemistry of his team so far, and said for this group, which does not have Cole Currie and Nick Springer anymore, the most important thing is not to look at the record this early.
“You can’t let the record bother you or make you feel like you’re not good,” he said. “Right now we’re learning … Right now it’s just getting better and gelling. Different teams have different mindsets.”
CV will play today against Caesar Chavez and then on Friday at a time to be determined, depending on today’s outcome.
For the Flintridge Prep boys, who are also in the tournament, it has been easy going so far. The Rebels’ first two games of the season were this week in the CV gym, and senior guard Robert Cartwright and his teammates have passed both tests with aplomb.
They cruised past Jefferson High School on Monday 68-29. Cartwright had 19 points and five assists, while the young guys – freshmen Kendall Kikkawa and Jake Althouse – scored nine points and seven points each.
Prep was tested in the first half on Tuesday against Cleveland, trailing after the first quarter and again at halftime. But a 26-9 explosion in the third quarter saw the Rebels run away with it as they notched an 88-75 win. Sophomore forward Andrew Tsangeos scored nine points in the quarter. Cartwright was big again, scoring a game-high 32 points.
Coach Garrett Ohara though said it’s not just Cartwright’s ability to score the ball that helps the team.
“He’s got tremendous vision,” Ohara said, “so he’s usually beating his man. When someone comes over to help he can see the floor and get the ball to people who are open … it creates easy shots for our guys.”
Prep was not scheduled Wednesday, and resumes tournament play today at 4 p.m. against Hart.
“We know we have good competition and we’re playing teams we don’t normally play against so it’s nice to have that,” Ohara said. “Thursday we play Hart, so playing traditional powers, it’s good to play with the big guys.”