Falcons clinch Classic title

LA CRESCENTA — The 16-point lead the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team held over Hart with six minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the final quarter turned into just a memory in the final minutes of the Falcon Classic Tournament championship game.

Hart went on a late run, cutting the Falcons' lead to as little as four points in the final two minutes Friday night. Crescenta Valley withstood the charge, though, and held on for a 79-67 victory, which secured the tournament title.

"One of our major goals this season is to protect home court," Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian said. "There's nothing better than playing on your own floor in front of your own fans. We stress winning every game at home."

The Indians got a huge surge of momentum late in CV's gym when Lewis Stallworth hit a three-pointer and drew a foul, converting the free throw for a four-point play. Hart got a boost, hitting a three-pointer and converting an and-one opportunity on its next possession to cut Crescenta Valley's lead to 65-60 with 2:51 to go in the game.

"Unfortunately, this game of basketball is a game of runs and we talked about them making a run at us and they did," Zargarian said. "Our offensive energy was still there, but our defensive energy went away, which I don't like."

The Indians (4-1) cut even closer, as Ben Johnson nailed a three-pointer to cut CV's lead to four, 69-65, with a 1:40 remaining. The Falcons' Dylan Kilgour helped his team regain its composure by converting a layup. Christian Misi pushed CV's lead back out to six, 73-67, hitting a baby hook shot with a minute left.

"This [win] means a lot to us," Crescenta Valley center Rudy Avila said. "We have been looking forward to this since Monday, but we just took it one game at a time and took care of business."

From there, the Falcons (4-0) hit their free throws and held on for the win, but the fourth quarter was a far cry from the first three quarters, as CV controlled most of the game and led by as many as 16 (58-42) with 6:30 left in the fourth.

The Falcons flashed their balance, as all five of their starters were in double-digits in points Friday. Kilgour had a team-high 20 points, Misi had 16, Davis Dragovich and Avila had 13 and Cole Currie had 11.

"One of the nice things we have this year is all five guys on the floor are a threat," Zargarian said. "We have such an unselfish team that it doesn't matter who's scoring, as long as we are."

Hart's Austin Maly had a game-high 23 points. Stallworth and Johnson both had 13.

The Falcons got out to a hot start in the championship bout, establishing a 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. CV got a jolt early in the second when Kilgour found Avila on an alley-oop pass.

Avila's dunk gave Crescenta Valley a 21-15 lead a minute into the second quarter and clearly flustered the Indians, who turned the ball over on their next two possessions. The giveaways led to two CV three-pointers — the first from Misi and the next from Kilgour — to push the lead to 27-15 and force a Hart timeout with 6:17 remaining in the half.

"Basketball is a game of runs and that [alley-oop] got our team running," Avila said. "It got the crowd going and got us going. We feed off the crowd."

The Falcons improved on the lead, heading into halftime with a 37-20 advantage and keeping a 13-point lead, 53-40, headed into the fourth.

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