LA CRESCENTA — It's going to take more than just a bad start to slow down the Crescenta Valley boys' basketball team this season.
The Falcons proved that in a Falcon Classic pool-play game against Simi Valley Wednesday night. CV turned the ball over on four of its first five possessions and was in a hole early, but climbed out of it without much trouble en route to a 75-53 victory.
"I think it just took a little while for us to wake up," said the Falcons' senior power forward Christian Misi, who finished with a game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. "The energy was lacking and it was a lack of effort to start the game."
Simi Valley (3-3) couldn't maintain its hot start, as it was unable to match up with Crescenta Valley's size at center and the two forward positions. The Falcons (2-0) out rebounded the Pioneers, 33-17, in the contest.
"One of our points of emphasis was to take advantage of our size," Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian said. "When Rudy [Avila] is a force for us inside, we are so good, and add Christian and Davis [Dragovich] who can shoot and rebound. All three of those guys did a great job of establishing their presence down low."
Avila, CV's 6-foot-7 center, finished the game with 13 points and five rebounds. Dragovich, the Falcons' 6-foot-4 small forward, had a double-double in the game (18 points and 11 rebounds), along with Misi.
Still, Crescenta Valley started out awful, turning the ball over on four of its first five possessions, as Simi Valley took an 11-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
"For us to come out flat right off the bat is unacceptable," Zargarian said. "We weren't doing things right. It took a timeout and me getting in their face to wake them up, but once they woke up and started playing they did things the right way."
Zargarian's quick timeout, a minute and 15 seconds into the game, helped the Falcons settle down and close out the opening quarter on a 20-3 run to take a 20-14 heading into the second.
CV kept going, increasing its lead to 41-28 by halftime. Dragovich led the Falcons early, finishing the first half with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Misi stepped into the limelight for Crescenta Valley in the second half, putting up 18 points and seven rebounds in the final two quarters. He also scored the Falcons' first six points in the third quarter, as CV increased its lead to 47-30 on a three-pointer from Misi early in the third. Avila also had a great third, scoring six points in the eight-minute span.
Heading into the fourth, Crescenta Valley was up, 55-41, and was intent on widening the advantage. The Falcons did just that, increasing the lead to 18 points, 75-53, by the final whistle. Misi enjoyed a monster quarter, putting up 12 points and four rebounds in the final eight minutes.