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A team big on talent

Hamlet Nalbandyan

Bob Trowbridge remembers it like it was yesterday.

“We had a pre-game routine that we’d always do,” says the 6-foot-8

49-year-old Burbank Fire Dept. battalion chief , who was the starting

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power forward on the 1970-71 Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball

team. “The first time through warm ups, we’d go and simply lay the

ball in, and the next time, there’d be like nine or 10 dunks that

would just shake the gym’s foundation.

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“That scared the heck out of the other team.”

Intimidating is one word to describe that Falcon team. The “best”

is another, as some in the region have often claimed.

Featuring seven future Division I basketball players, Ed

Goorjian’s boys produced a season rarely seen in the

Burbank-Glendale-Foothills area.

The Falcons went 29-1, with their only blemish coming against L.A.

Verbum Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 4-A championship

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game. Although the 1985 Glendale High team is the only region squad

to win a 4-A title, those who saw both squads play believe CV had the

edge.

“They were so big,” said John Goffredo, who coached the Falcons

from 1979 to 1997.

Goffredo wasn’t exaggerating.

CV featured a lineup that on paper looked like a college team. The

starting front court had Troy Jones in the middle (6-10), Bill Boyd

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(6-7) and Trowbridge at the forward spots and Brian Goorjian (6-3)

and Scott Palmer (6-3) in the backcourt.

In addition, the Falcons had 6-8 Bruce Denton and 6-5 Bruce Palmer

coming off the bench.

All of those players went on to play Division I basketball, with

Boyd and Trowbridge (then a junior) moving onto USC -- which was

coached by Boyd’s father, Bob -- Jones going to Brigham Young

University, Goorjian going to Pepperdine, Scott Palmer (then a

junior) going to UC Irvine and then transferring to USC, Bruce Palmer

(then a sophomore) going to the University of the Pacific and Denton

(then a junior) going to the University of Portland.

“They were one of the best high school teams of the era,” said Ed

Goorjian, who started the Falcon program in 1963 and now resides in

Oceanside.

*

Coming off a 24-4 season and Foothill League championship in 1970,

the Falcons didn’t need much help in 1971. But as the saying goes,

the rich only got richer.

Bill Boyd, who at the time was one of the best players in Southern

California, transferred from Santa Ana Foothill High after his family

moved into the area so his dad could be closer to USC.

Boyd was a two-time All-American at Foothill, and would add

another All-America honor with the Falcons. He led the CIF in scoring

his senior season with a 22.1 per-game clip and his 2,144 career

points were at the time a CIF Southern Section record. With a

dominating lineup intact, the only thing left was for the unit to

jell, and that happened long before the season started.

“That summer, we rented a beach house in Newport Beach for a week

and really got to know each other,” remembers Boyd. “It helped

galvanize us, and it was probably the finest basketball experience

I’ve ever had.”

The season started with a close one, as CV barely squeaked by St.

Francis, 76-72. But there weren’t too many close calls after that.

The Falcons won by an average of 20.2 points per game, outscoring

their opponents, 2,106-1,500.

Although Glendale came closest to beating CV in the regular

season, falling, 51-47, in double overtime, claiming the league title

wasn’t that much of a sweat, either.

CV did as it pleased in the eight-team league -- which featured

Glendale, Hoover, Burbank, Burroughs, Muir, Pasadena and Blair --

winning by an average of 20 points per game.

Boyd was the league’s Co-Most Valuable Player and Trowbridge,

Goorjian and Scott Palmer earned all-league honors.

CV kept its hot streak into the postseason, until it ran into

Verbum Dei.

*

The Eagles had won the 2-A title in 1969 and the 3-A crown in

1970, and by defeating the Falcons, 51-42, in front of 11,089 at the

L.A. Sports Arena, improved their record to 83-4 over the three-year

stretch.

“They were a better team than we were. There wasn’t much we could

do,” Ed Goorjian said.

Verbum Dei, the nation’s No. 2-ranked team, featured 7-foot center

Lewis Brown (who later played at UNLV) and guard Raymond Lewis, whom

Boyd referred to as the “greatest human” he’s seen as far as Southern

California basketball is concerned.

Also on the Verbum Dei team was Ricky Hawthorne, who was the

Burbank High girls’ basketball coach the past two seasons.

But more so than individual talent, what fazed the Falcons the

most that night was the atmosphere.

“On one side of the arena was all white CV fans, and on the other

were all [African American] Verbum Dei fans,” Boyd said. “You have to

remember the era it was in and the tensions involved. We didn’t know

what to expect and we were somewhat distracted.”

The loss to this day is still a bitter moment. But judging from

how the players have turned out, it’s safe to say they’ve moved on.

Boyd is the senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis Company, which

is one of the world’s leading providers of integrated real estate

services. He lives in La Canada Flintridge and has leased nine of the

12 major buildings on Brand Boulevard.

Trowbridge is a battalion chief with the Burbank Fire Dept. and

lives in Moorpark. Jones is a pediatrician in Florida and has nine

children.

Brian Goorjian is the head coach of the Australian national team,

and he led the Sydney Kings to the 2002-03 National Basketball League

championship (his third in his career), earning coach of the year

honors (the fourth time he has done so).

Bruce Palmer is the head coach of the Hunter Pirates of the NBL,

and his brother Scott is a high school coach in Arizona, according to

Boyd.

Just further proof that this group of Falcons had no trouble

finding success away from the court, as well.


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