CV WINS FALCON CLASSIC TOURNAMENT
Falcons Win ‘Classic,’ Dragovich MVP
This could be the start of something big for the Falcons’ basketball team. A beginning that can turn into another 20-win season, a Pacific League title for the first time since 2004, and maybe even a deep run into the CIF playoffs.
As it stands now though it is only December, and Coach Shawn Zargarian and his players will only talk about their unofficial mantra for the season: one game at a time.
Still, what a start it has been for the Falcons as they defeated Hart High School 79-67 on Friday to win the Falcon Classic Tournament at CV High.
As for the cherry on top, forward Christian Misi and center Rudy Avila were named to the All-Tournament team and forward Davis Dragovich was selected tournament Most Valuable Player.
“There’s nothing better than to be playing at home and to be in the championship game and to pull it out,” said Zargarian.
Davis said winning MVP “feels cool,” and added the only other award that compares was being selected as an honorable mention in the All-Pacific League team.
The Falcons (4-0) lost in the championship game to Chatsworth last year in the tournament, but this year it looked like they were on a mission. They beat South Pasadena 79-34, Simi Valley 74-53 and Antelope Valley 66-34 to reach the final round against Hart. That’s right, the average margin of victory in those games was 32.6.
Although the Indians provided a much tougher challenge – they entered the game 4-0 – the Falcons managed to pull away late due to an all-around offensive effort from the CV starting five.
The Falcons led at halftime 37-20, thanks to the outside shooting of Dragovich and senior guard Dylan Kilgour. Dragovich had 10 points in the first quarter and finished with 14. Kilgour had a team-high 20 points.
But a 16-point lead in the second half evaporated as Hart’s trio of Austin Maly, Ben Johnson and Lewis Stallworth brought the Indians back. Maly had a game-high 23 points. The lead late in the fourth dwindled down to 69-65, but CV continually solved Hart’s full-court pressure leading to a Kilgour layup and a Misi jumper to push the lead to 73-67 with a minute left, and Hart never scored again.
“Seeing our team come together like that when [Hart] made a run, staying together, that was probably the most important part,” Dragovich said.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Zargarian. “Did we expect them to make a run at us? Absolutely. But did I expect our defensive energy to drop as far as did? That was poor.
“Defensively we just kind of relaxed, and you don’t rest on defense.”
Still, the offense never left. Observers would probably say Misi is the Falcons’ most important player (he also looks like he added a few pounds of muscle during the summer as well), but CV is at least at this point a well-balanced machine.
Case in point:
• It took junior guard Cole Currie a while to get his shot going, but Dragovich was there in the first half to take on the scoring load. He also showed skill by catching a missed shot with his left hand and made the put-back in mid-air.
• Avila also had some plays for the highlight reel. He sparked his team and the crowd by finishing two lob passes for dunks in the game.
• Then Currie came alive and showed his versatility by blocking a shot, taking the pass and going full court for a layup. He finished with 11 points.
“Coach was telling us in the pregame we’re one of those teams that has all the talent and where all the guys can make plays, but we really don’t care about stats,” said Dragovich. “All we care about are the wins.”
Is that really true?
“I really think it is with this team.”
While Zargarian pointed out that the defensive energy will have to get better, he acknowledged the positive side of the win.
“Our guys are so unselfish,” he said. “They’re willing to make the extra pass … it’s like every other guy can score. But the guys on the floor and the guys on our bench with their energy, it was a good feeling, we had a good vibe.”
The question now is how deep the bench is for the Falcons. Newcomer Nick Springer, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard that Zargarian said can have an impact this season, didn’t play against Hart. In fact, only Tade Keshishyan and Elliot Wilson saw court time from the bench.
“We’ve worked on the last three games getting more guys off the bench, and as the season goes on we’ll try and get guys in a little bit earlier and try to give some guys breathers,” said Zargarian. “But as long as our core guys are not hurting and not in foul trouble, we’ll stick with them.”