By Seth AMITIN
It wasn’t exactly the outcome the Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team expected in their own tournament, but a second place finish in the Falcons Basketball Classic is what the Falcons got in their 78-69 loss at the hands of Chatsworth in the championship on Friday.
Crescenta Valley High was up 31-25 just before the half and fell behind hard in the second half, down by as many as 20.
“You never want to think it’s over, but against a good team down by 20, it’s tough,” said Crescenta Valley Head Coach Shawn Zargarian. “We had to play all 32 minutes. We got what we expected out of Chatsworth and we didn’t respond.”
When asked about what he meant by playing all 32 minutes, Zargarian said, “I was proud of their effort and mental focus. We had a lapse in mental focus today and that’s where we had problems.”
The game was a showcase for two Falcons players, forward Christian Misi and guard Cole Currie. Misi had 28 points, 22 in the first half, and Currie had 31, 26 in the second half.
Misi’s grandmother, Dorene Westerholm of La Crescenta, was in the stands to watch the action.
Problems arose when the Falcons didn’t stick to their game plan, Zargarian said, as they had in the previous games in the tournament.
“We wanted to limit turnovers and we wanted to control the clock and we didn’t do either,” he said.
Crescenta Valley (4-1) defeated South Pasadena, Sun Valley and Antelope Valley in pool play to advance to the finals. Flintridge Prep beat Antelope Valley, 86-85, in double overtime to secure third place in the tournament.
Chatsworth (8-1) had several double-digit scorers, including senior Jason Monje with 19 and senior Derrick Hector with 17.
The tournament was a success for Crescenta Valley, though, as they beat each of their opponents by at least 10 points, including a 50-point margin against Sun Valley.
At the start of the game, Misi showed off some star power with 11 of the team’s 18 total points in the first quarter, including two on an alley oop and three on a three-pointer just before the end of the first quarter.
Chatsworth responded with a few baskets to take a 21-18 lead, but the rest of the quarter was all Falcons. Misi and Currie combined for eight unanswered points and Davis Dragovich added a bucket to make it 28-23. A couple of well-timed steals, though, and the Chancellors came back to within one, 31-30, at the half.
Though the second half started slow for the Falcons, they were only down by four at the end of the third quarter, 51-47. Chatsworth’s Jessie Hernandez scored a three-point play, then Monje scored 10 points in under six minutes to drive home a 19-4 run for the Chancellors. Chatsworth was up 71-51 with a little over two minutes left.
Currie made some buckets to draw the deficit closer, including 16 in the final two minutes, but the Falcons weren’t able to recover.