By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Hitting the boards with a strong start didn’t last long for the Falcons when they took on the Muir Mustangs in the final game of the La Salle Holiday Tournament on Thursday night at La Salle.
Numerous turnovers and bad passes left CV wanting and Muir was quick to devour the small point advantage the Falcons had. In the first half Davis Dragovich – the standout of the night – picked up four of six going to the line. Dylan Kilgour, with less than two minutes on the clock, launched a three pointer, nailing it and grabbing the Falcons’ last points of the half giving CV 25 to Muir’s 38.
Christian Misi owned the first basket of the second half with an assist by Rudy Avila who thwarted a Muir drive narrowing the score’s gap, followed by Avila picking up one of two on a foul.
Just as the Falcons seemed poised to take back their lead at 31-38, Muir poured on the pressure. Double-teaming by the Mustangs coupled by the Falcons missing the cutter quickly racked up the points for Muir 54-35.
Coach Zargarian responded by taking out all but one of his starters.
“I was frustrated with our efforts, our energy and the way the group was playing,” he said of his decision. “I just grabbed the closest four guys and stuck them in. There was no real rationale.”
But the Mustangs had hit their stride and continued the double-teaming strategy. A flagrant call on Kilgour netted two more plus possession for Muir. And when the Falcons did shoot, they had better make the shot because catching the rebounds wasn’t happening. Four turnovers – none converted – equaled no points.
Midway into the fourth with the scoreboard reading 59 Muir to CV’s 37, the Falcons started to rally as Muir seemed to have caught the same dismal disease that plagued CV earlier … and CV was ready.
Muir couldn’t seem to handle the resurrected Falcons, unable to break the pressure and quick passes. CV fed the ball to the middle where Dragovich – who grabbed 10 of his night’s 20 points in the fourth alone – was waiting. Unfortunately, the remaining eight minutes weren’t enough and the Falcons left the court not just defeated but beat 60-76.
Horrible ball handling, lazy passes and bad decisions determined Thursday night’s game, according Coach Zargarian. The question is what will Muir find when the teams next meet on Jan. 14.
“If we don’t get tougher and if we don’t learn how to handle the pressure we’ll be in trouble,” Coach Zargarian acknowledged, “but hopefully by then we’ll be able to handle it better.”
League play begins at 5 p.m. on Jan. 4 when CV travels to Burroughs.