By Brandon HENSLEY
Maybe the Crescenta Valley High boys’ varsity basketball team would have advanced further in the CIF playoffs this season than it did if several key members did not fall ill in the days leading up to their matchup against Quartz Hill.
But they did, providing a sluggish effort all game, and the Falcons were dropped in the first round 49-46 to the Rebels inside the CV gymnasium.
With that went another season, but not before the Falcons showed much promise for the 2011-12 season. CV went 20-8, the second year in a row of having at least 20 wins, and went 12-2 in the Pacific League, good for second place behind Pasadena.
Gone were Adam Dasaad, Coltrane Powdrill and Nick Dragovich, stalwarts on a Falcon team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2010. But contributions were made this year by junior forward Christian Misi, who was All-CIF, and sophomore guard Cole Currie, who was selected to All-Pacific League first team.
But head Coach Shawn Zargarian was quick to point out others who helped the team this year; senior guard Nick Kelly, junior center Rudy Avila and junior guard Dylan Kilgour, who made nearly 50% of his three point shots this season.
“Dylan had an amazing season for us, knocked down a lot of shots,” Zargarian said.
And so the Falcons will bring back a plethora of experience. They can learn from frustrating losses like the one to Pasadena in January, in which they only scored 37 points, and the playoff game when Kilgour’s shooting was basically the only reason they were in a position to win.
But they can also build upon their stellar league record and the fact that they once again swept their rivals to the east, Arcadia High, including a thrilling buzzer-beating win at CV, courtesy of Cole Currie, in what was surely the most memorable moment of the past couple of seasons.
As for Currie, he has all the tools. The 6-foot-1 guard might still be growing, and his height and reach give him an advantage over smaller guards matched up on him. He can take over a game for stretches, especially with his shooting range, but he needs to develop a more consistent shot, something that was lacking against Quartz Hill.
“What we’d like to see out of Cole this year is continue what he’s doing on the perimeter, but don’t just be a perimeter player; be able to get to the basket, being able to get to the free throw line and getting better defensively,” said Zargarian.
The 6-4 Misi was the Falcons’ best all-around player and most likely will be again next season. His outside shooting is comparable to that of a shooting guard, and his skills in the post have certainly much attention.
With those returning players, including the shooting touch of Kilgour, it will be junior Davis Dragovich whom Zargarian said will be a key to next year’s squad.
Dragovich is an inch shorter than Misi but with comparable skills.
“He’s spent a lot of time in the gym, every morning he’s in here,” Zargarian said of Dragovich. “At nights he’s working out … already he looks like he’s gotten a lot better. He’s tough matchup because he can play with his back to the basket, he can shoot, he can put it on the floor, so he’ll be the guy we’ll kind of look for to break out.”
Summer comes early these days for high school sports. The Falcons have already played a handful of games and will end up playing over 30 games in all before they get rest toward the end of July.
Zargarian said because of the experience on his team, he’s currently letting the players figure things out own their own.
“It’s early, it’s summer, I don’t expect us to be playing at a super high level,” he said.
But that won’t be the case by the time winter rolls around. By all accounts, next season’s Falcon team should be one to watch out for.