NORTHWEST GLENDALE — So crushing, so utterly decisive was the first-half run the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team used to polish off host Hoover on Wednesday that the only thing the Falcons could quibble with by the end of their 55-33 Pacific League win was how long it took to get the offense going.
"We've done a good job this year of making nice runs, the only issue is we wait so long to do that," said Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian, whose team went the first two and a half minutes without scoring and didn't begin to string points together in bunches until there were about three minutes left in the opening period. "We let teams kind of stick around for a while and then it's like we wake up and realize we're playing a game. It's nice to have those runs, but it would be nice to have that energy consistently."
When the Falcons, who were led by Christian Misi's double-double (11 points, 14 rebounds) and a 15-point, six-rebound effort from Davis Dragovich, finally did wake up, they put the Tornadoes' lights out with a backbreaking 24-0 run that resulted in a 26-4 lead by the 5:31 mark of the second quarter. Hoover, which missed 12 straight attempts from the field during Crescenta Valley's streak, couldn't get anything going off dribble penetration with the Falcons' massive front line of Misi, Dragovich and Rudy Avila, off the bench, patrolling the paint and went one for 10 from three-point range in the first half.
"We wanted [to get] our outside shots and we were hoping to get some fouls by going to the basket," said Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten, whose team took seven free throws in the game, but made just one. "It just didn't happen for us. They did a good job of playing defense and took us out of some of the stuff we wanted to do. We went away from our game plan."
Hoover (7-10, 1-3 in league) led early and trailed by just two when Crescenta Valley (15-2, 4-0) guard Cole Currie (11 points, five assists) sparked the offensive outburst with a pull-up three-pointer to make it 9-4 with 2:30 left in the first. After Misi scored on a putback, the Falcons would continue to rip off points in bunches of three, as Dylan Kilgour buried a three in transition off a Dragovich feed and Misi followed suit with a buzzer-beater from an inbound pass to make it 19-4 going into the second.
Kilgour kept things flowing with a three to begin the second quarter, followed by a Currie drive and then a Currie pass in transition to Dragovich for a layup to complete the 24-0 spurt just before Hoover finally snapped out of it with an Andre Aladadyan layup to make it 26-6 at the 5:12 mark.
"We just started making shots. ...We've got to take care of coming out slow," Misi said. "We were just a little lackadaisical in the beginning, but we picked it up once our shot started going in."
Kyle Bernardo (14 points) hit a step-back three to close the second quarter and a mini-run by the Tornadoes that closed the gap to 30-16 at halftime, but by the end of the third quarter the Falcons had pushed the lead back to 44-20 on another surge, capped by a reverse layup from Currie.
Hoover will look to get back on track with a league game at Burbank on Friday night, while the Falcons will take on multiple-time defending league-champion Pasadena Friday, one of two other teams (Muir) to enter play Wednesday with a perfect record in league.
"We're excited, we think we'll do well against them," Misi said. "This is our year."