How High Can They Fly?

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CV Boys’ Basketball 2011-12 Preview

Players think the sky’s the limit this season, and coaches Zargarian and Reid will lead the way

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By Brandon HENSLEY

On the cover of the 1997 CV boys’ basketball souvenir program is a blue pyramid showing the different levels of the playoffs its teams have reached over the years. At the top, the pyramid shows two years the school made it all the way to the CIF Finals, 1971 and 1994.

But you don’t need to look at any of the other programs from 1998 to present day to know that 1994 remains the last time the Falcons went that far. Now, 18 seasons later, can a team comprised of players who weren’t even born then take the Falcons program to a similar level?

The Falcons won 20 games last year, their second straight season in doing so. But they finished second in the Pacific League to Pasadena and lost in the first round of the playoffs at home. Motivation based on past failures is something CV can use.

“CIF championship,” said senior forward Davis Dragovich. “That’s honestly our goal, based on how well we played over summer, how well we played this fall … we really have a special team going this year.”

Junior guard Cole Currie tempered his expectations, if only slightly.

“We think we have the team to win CIF, and the leadership to win CIF, but definitely a league championship is first on our mind,” said Currie.

Both Dragovich and Currie are part of a starting five for CV that is experienced and talented enough to compete for a Pacific League title.

With those two, along with forward Christian Misi (All-CIF last season), center Rudy Avila and shooting guard Dylan Kilgour, the Falcons possess playmakers at every position.

“We know that after last year [teams] are going to be keying in on Christian,” Currie said. “We’re loaded.”

Coach Shawn Zargarian, who likes to emphasize taking things a day at a time, didn’t completely dismiss the notion that a long playoff run is out of the question.

“This is the most talented team in my seven years I would say,” said Zargarian. “The common theme with a lot of our guys is to compete for a league title, which is always the goal in the preseason.” (The preseason has been kind to CV: the Falcons are currently 8-1.)

Zargarian was a junior in 1994 when he was called up to the varsity squad for CV’s run to CIF. That team, which went 20-10 in the regular season, wasn’t exactly a powerhouse.

“It wasn’t a super talented team, but I think they all came together at the right time and everything just kind of gelled together,” he said, and that’s the lesson for this year.

“Talent can only take you so far. Other things have to come into play,” Zargarian said. “Chemistry, hard work, doing the right things all the time; if those things all fall into place I think we could have a really good year and do some things we haven’t done in the past.”

But it starts with coaching, and CV has relied on two former players, Zargarian and assistant Matt Reid for several years now to carry on the program’s storied tradition.

Zargarian graduated in 1995 and began coaching the freshman team the following year. He was a varsity assistant under both Jim Smiley and Adam Jacobsen – former Falcon players themselves – before taking over as head coach six years ago.

Reid graduated CV in 1997 and also began coaching the in the lower levels immediately after. He acknowledged what he lacked in natural talent he had to make up for in smarts and the ability to lead, and Smiley predicted he would someday make a successful coach.

“I always thought I’d be a coach one day and there’s no better place to coach than here,” Reid said.

This will be his fifth year as Zargarian’s assistant, although an increased work schedule in San Diego this year will force him to mostly be present only on the weekends. Both coaches are popular with the players.

“They know exactly what they want to teach. They run a really good practice,” said Dragovich.

What makes them an interesting duo is their approach. As an assistant, Reid can play the good cop to Zargarian’s more intense bad cop. (Zargarian stomps his heel when he’s upset, something he said he got from his coach, John Goffredo.)

“He does a great job of going up to our guys when they’re down, putting their arm around them,” said Zargarian of Reid.

“Their goals are the same, but their personalities so opposite,” said Currie.

Reid is also known for being the de facto offensive coordinator. Many times in a tight spot, Zargarian will count on Reid to decipher if a certain play should go to Misi down low, or possibly a screen for a wide-open Kilgour.

“He always seems to make the right play-call when we need a bucket,” Dragovich said of Reid.

“We have such a great relationship and understanding of how we coach,” said Zargarian.

When they were in high school, Zargarian said his relationship with Reid was casual, more of a “hey how’s it going?” thing. Through the years, that has changed. Reid will often visit Zargarian’s home for dinner and play with his children.

“I feel like a part of his family. His kids will call me Uncle Matt,” Reid said.

Reid thinks Zargarian has done a good job carrying on the program’s motto of “Pride, Tradition, Honor.”

“He makes it something to where I look forward to Friday nights,” Reid said.

Former captains of their respective teams in the ‘90s, now they lead a Falcons team that could very well add another block high up into that blue pyramid.

“It’s awesome,” Zargarian said of his position. “If you asked me 15 years ago when I was in high school, if I’d ever coach in the program let alone be the head coach, it never would have crossed my mind. Being here, carrying on what [first CV coach Ed] Goorjian, Goffredo and everybody did here, and being able to do it with Matt [is special]. He and I have gotten so close.”

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