NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With four of his starters off competing for their respective travel ball teams Thursday, Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball Coach Shawn Zargarian found his team shorthanded.
Zargarian, however, preferred to focus on the benefit of having his remaining players, who don't see time on the court often, getting a chance to improve and make a case for new and bigger roles next season.
The freedom to experiment aside, Crescenta Valley was handed a 60-53 loss by Grant in its opening pool-play contest of the Vaquero Summer Classic on Thursday afternoon at Glendale Community College.
The Falcons competed without starters Christian Misi, Cole Currie, Davis Dragovich and Rudy Avila on Thursday. Misi and Currie earned All-Area accolades last season after helping the Falcons place second in the Pacific League. Misi averaged 18.5 points and 11 rebounds per game last season and Currie averaged 15 points per game. Dragovich and Avila, both forwards, provided a presence last season in the paint.
Dylan Kilgour was the lone regular starter to participate on Thursday.
"For some of the guys, there's not a lot of opportunities for them to start," Zargarian said. "This was an opportunity for them to be able to step up and get some experience.
"We did a good job of not quitting. We got some defensive stops, rebounds and transition points."
Kilgour paced Crescenta Valley with 10 points, while Tade Keshishyan added seven.
David Lyons contributed five points for the Falcons, who will finish pool-play with a game against Maranatha at 4:10 p.m. today.
The Falcons stayed close with the Lancers throughout most of the 40-minute contest. Crescenta Valley took the lead for the first time when Kris Jabourian made a jump shot to make it 44-42 with 8:21 remaining in the game.
Crescenta Valley's last lead came when Keshishyan made two free throws to make it 48-46 with 6:10 left. The Lancers then used a 14-5 run to clinch the victory.
In the first half, Jabourian made a layup to cut Grant's lead to 21-19 with 5:43 remaining. The Lancers then used an 8-0 run over nearly the next four minutes to take a 29-19 lead. A basket by Keshishyan ended the run and brought Crescenta Valley to within 29-23 at halftime.
"We had a stretch where we gave up four offensive rebounds and they got eight points out of it," Zargarian said.
Kilgour had six first-half points to pace the Falcons. He made a three-pointer that knotted the game at 10 with 15:14 left in the opening half.