Nitros Implode as Falcons Soar

Photos by Ben EDWARDS TOP: Cole Currie scored 14 points in Tuesday’s match against the Glendale Nitros. BELOW: Davis Dragovich picked up six of his free throws, boosting the Falcons forward in their ultimate victory over the Nitros 58-45.

By Brandon HENSLEY

What a difference a week makes.

The Falcons boys’ varsity basketball team continued to put its ugly loss to Pasadena last week further behind them by defeating two more Pacific League foes on the road. First Muir went down to the mighty Falcons on Friday and then on Tuesday the Glendale Nitros – soph/frosh, JV and varsity – tumbled.

Varsity play saw forward Christian Misi scoring a game-high 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while guard Cole Currie had a solid overall game with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Falcons defeated the Glendale Nitros, 58-45.

With the second straight win for CV (13-6, 5-1 in league), the team will have one more road test on Friday in Arcadia before playing home next week. Considering the time away from their gym, and the fact that the bus on Tuesday was an hour late to pick them up from school, the Falcons are probably eager to play at home again.

Tuesday’s game never seemed to slip away from the Falcons, although Glendale had its share of runs. CV never led by more than 14 points but Glendale couldn’t get it down to a single possession game.

“I thought today for the most part our guys handled their business, didn’t get rattled,” said Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian. “Glendale made a couple runs at us when they made some shots but our guys kind of stayed with what we were doing and executed.”

Zargarian noted the size advantage his team had inside, and that the Falcons let Glendale back in the game when, “We took some bad shots, forced transition when it wasn’t there.”

It was tied at 14 after one quarter. Guard Nick Kelly made consecutive three-pointers in the second to help the Falcons to an eight-point lead at halftime.

Glendale’s Steven Gasparian kept the Nitros close with his shooting (he scored 10 points overall) but the Falcons went down low in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Glendale fell to 7-11, and 2-4 in league play.

“Once we went back inside we were able to dominate the paint,” said Zargarian. “Glendale doesn’t have a lot of size.”

CV helped its own cause at the free-throw line. The Falcons made 13 of 16 free throws in the final quarter, including six by Davis Dragovich.

The highlight of the night came courtesy of Currie, who in the third quarter, converted a reverse left-handed layup in traffic, one where the ball seemed to hang in the air forever before taking a couple of bounces on the rim and going in.

“I really got stuck, and it was my only option, to throw it [up],” said Currie.

Currie was a different player from a week ago, when Pasadena’s pressure forced him into making some poor decisions. It was a different story Tuesday when, despite only having three assists, he found his teammates more easily this time when double-teamed or when in transition.

“I knew if I could get past my guy there would be a lot of guys open, I was open to make plays and other guys were able to score,” Currie said.

“The thing I like about Cole right now is when his shot’s not falling he finds other ways to get involved,” Zargarian said. “His leadership with the ball was great. He got some great dishes to guys for open shots and he handled the ball for us.”

The Falcons stand now with only one loss in league. Considering their huge win last Friday at Muir and a solid win at Glendale, things are okay with Zargarian at the moment.

“I like the way we’re playing. We don’t want to go back and worry about that Pasadena loss. We were really trying to focus on one [game] at a time and right now our [focus is] Arcadia for another road game.”

“We knew the Muir game was going to be big, and we knew this was going to be a bit of a trap game, so with the bus being late and everything there was a lot of chaos,” Currie said. “We just had to come focused, ready to play and we did.”

Now it’s on to Arcadia, a place where Falcon and Apache fans taunt each other from both sides of the gym. A place that will have a playoff atmosphere, said Currie. A place where records don’t matter, according to Zargarian.

“Nothing matters,” he said. “You’re going in there, and it’s one game, and you’re playing for pride and you better bring it or else it gets ugly. We’re excited. It’s a good atmosphere.”