LA CRESCENTA — Ultimately, it was a victory for the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team Friday night. However, Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian wasn't overly impressed.
"I thought we would come out with a little more fire and intensity," Zargarian said after host Crescenta Valley netted a 62-56 Pacific League victory against Muir in a game that was played under protest. "It just wasn't there and we didn't have that intensity for 32 minutes."
Crescenta Valley improved to 18-7, 10-2 in league with league home games left against Glendale on Tuesday and rival Arcadia on Thursday. The Falcons, who clinched second place in league and are two games behind Pasadena, limited Muir (14-8, 7-5) to two first-quarter points before the Falcons let the Mustangs back in the contest by yielding 22 points in the second quarter.
That drew frustration from Zargarian, whose team won two of three meetings against Muir.
"We allowed 22 points [in the second quarter] and we didn't have it," said Zargarian, whose team held a 14-2 lead after the first quarter and a 27-24 halftime advantage. "I thought Muir outplayed us most of this game."
The Falcons received a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds from junior center Christian Misi.
The key play for the Falcons came with 47.2 seconds left and Crescenta Valley clinging to a 54-50 lead. Falcon junior guard Dylan Kilgour grabbed a loose ball and made a picture-perfect pass to Misi, who scored to make it 56-50.
"The play of the game was Dylan over to Christian," said Zargarian, whose team is ranked No. 7 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division 1-A poll. "It should have been like that for 32 minutes.
"Dylan makes plays for us. He's come a long way."
Muir Coach Gamal Smalley, whose team is ranked No. 2 in Division 5-AA behind Flintridge Prep, filed a protest with 13.1 seconds left in the game. The Falcons led, 56-53, before Muir fouled Misi, who was awarded a pair of free throws. Misi made the first free throw to make it 57-53, but Muir then inexplicably inbounded the ball and the game clock wound down to 3.9 seconds.
The two referees met before bringing Zargarian and Smalley into the huddle that lasted several minutes at midcourt. The officials ruled that Misi would shoot his second free throw, which he made, and that the clock wouldn't be set back to 13.1 seconds. Smalley informed the officials that he would protest.
Kilgour made a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter. His second gave the Falcons an 11-2 lead with 1:21 left in the opening stanza.
The Falcons got 14 points from sophomore guard Cole Currie, eight points and five steals from Kilgour and nine rebounds from junior forward Davis Dragovich.
The Mustangs, who made one of eight shots from the floor in the first quarter, got 21 points and nine rebounds from junior forward Jelani Mitchell and 18 points and four assists from junior guard Dion Nelson.