LA CRESCENTA — As first impressions go, it was hard to fault the new-look Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team's debut Tuesday night on its home court in the Falcon Classic.
Senior guard Cole Currie, the main holdover from last year's CIF semifinalist squad, led the way with 24 points while sitting out the fourth quarter, while several of the Falcons' first-year starters got off to a good start in a dominant 74-35 pool-play win over Simi Valley.
"We're a young team and we're still getting used to each other a little bit," said Currie, who also had six rebounds and five steals. "It's good for a lot of the guys because we're pretty inexperienced with the guys playing, so it was good for us to get a good start."
Senior forward Kris Jaborian scored 13 points and junior guard Nick Springer added 12 for the Falcons, who began to pull away late in the first quarter and never looked back in the second.
After Jaborian hit the first of his three three-pointers in the game at the end of the first period to put the Falcons ahead, 21-9, Currie opened the second with a layup on a fast break on a pass from freshman point guard Berj Krikorian before stealing the ball in the backcourt on the very next play and scoring on a another quick layup.
"We talked to our guys and we don't want to be playing our best basketball, we don't want to be peaking, obviously, but we want to play hard," Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. "I think our effort and how hard we played, that was the biggest thing tonight. We have a lot to clean up on, but it's a nice way to start off the season."
Currie dished to Ryan Schloessmann (four points) on the break for a bucket that grew the lead to 20 with 4:00 left in the first half and Eric Bae (nine points) hit a buzzer-beating three to close the half with Crescenta Valley up, 43-18.
After Springer opened the third with five straight points, including a three-pointer from the right side, Currie continued his tear by stealing the ball at midcourt and taking it to the rim for a layup that made it 54-25 with 4:00 to go in the third. Currie pushed the lead over 30 with 2:46 left in the third when he muscled an offensive rebound back up for a score.
"When Cole's going and scoring, I think just his energy and aggressiveness, other guys feed off it," Zargarian said. "I thought everybody else played really well. I really liked our effort, I thought our transition looked really good and we moved the ball and were really unselfish tonight."
Eric Patten scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Falcons, who forced 23 turnovers, including 13 steals.