A Powerful Presence

So many things went through Coltrane Powdrill's mind last summer after he landed awkwardly following a slam dunk while playing for his travel team.

Powdrill crumpled to the floor, feeling a sharp pain in his left knee. That triggered a series of questions, ranging from what kind of injury did Powdrill sustain to would he be able to participate in the upcoming season for the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team? Powdrill needed those questions answered before he could tackle the additional hurdle of learning the offensive and defensive systems used by Crescenta Valley after transferring from St. Francis.

“I didn't know if I could play again,” said Powdrill, who was diagnosed with a torn meniscus. “I had planted my left foot when I came down and I felt something go wrong.

“The doctors couldn't pinpoint the injury at first. Then I got a second MRI and it showed the tear.”

While he felt bouts of pain while rehabbing for several weeks — he missed virtually all of Crescenta Valley's extensive summer league schedule — Powdrill didn't let the injury bother him. He stuck to a regiment rehabilitation schedule to make the knee as sturdy as possible before joining the Falcons.

Powdrill might not have been 100%, but he certainly gave his all to the Falcons. He averaged a team-high 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game to help the Falcons finish in a three-way tie for second in the Pacific League. Crescenta Valley then qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs in February.

“I think I could have done better had I been 100% or close to it,” said Powdrill, who was selected the All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun for the first time. “I just went out there and did the best I could to help my team win.

“Before the season [began], I went through rehab and had a lot of workouts. I was able to strengthen my knee and the muscles around it. I'm glad it worked out.”

So were the Falcons, who relied heavily on Powdrill to help them post a 16-win season. Proving he wasn't shy about drawing contact, Powdrill averaged nearly two blocks per game to give Crescenta Valley a legitimate inside presence.

Once Powdrill became more comfortable, Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian could see things beginning to take shape.

“We had recognized that he had the knee injury when he came to us,” Zargarian said. “It did take a little time for him to adjust to what we liked to do on offense and defense.

“Once he got back into playing shape, you could see him becoming like a natural fit. He's become the complete package in that he can play with his back to and away from the basket.”

Powdrill finished with 42 blocks, en route to earning all-league first-team accolades.

Crescenta Valley senior guard Narbeh Ebrahamian, who averaged 14.7 points and a team-best 5.4 assists per game this season, said Powdrill proved to be one of the key members of the lineup that could get the Falcons a big basket late in a contest.

“He was another one of our go-to guys, and he was very consistent,” said Ebrahamian, who earned All-Area and all-league second-team honors. “He can turn around and shoot over people.

“He made my job easier, and we were happy that he came here.”

Powdrill scored 21 points for Crescenta Valley in a 57-55 first-round home playoff loss to Capistrano Valley. While the Falcons fell a bit short, it might have laid the groundwork on what Powdrill might be able to bring to the program next season.

Should he become completely healthy in time for next season, the Falcons might be in position to challenge for the league championship and go farther in the playoffs. Those are things on Powdrill's checklist.

“My knee feels a lot better, and it's getting there,” said Powdrill, who missed a pair of league games to rest the knee. “I think that I can get even better because I'll have more knowledge of the game and athleticism.

“I think we are coming off a great season. We had our share of tough losses, including the playoff game. We want to be able to regroup for next year.”

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