Crescenta Valley basketball keeps first-place standing

ARCADIA — Crescenta Valley High's boys' basketball team got a huge Pacific League win over defending champion Pasadena on Wednesday to sit alone atop the league standings, but that victory would deflate in a hurry if the Falcons could not win their next game on the road against rival Arcadia to solidify that standing.

“We told our guys that this game was bigger than Wednesday night’s game, “ Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. “I know it sounds weird, but Wednesday doesn’t mean anything unless you come here tonight and get a win.”

Crescenta Valley did just that, going on the road Friday night to defeat their rivals, 66-58.

“It was a rivalry game,” Zargarian said. “[Arcadia] didn’t have a win in league, so they had nothing to lose. The pressure was really on us tonight and I think our guys came out and did a good job.”

Crescenta Valley (16-4, 7-0) played a strong first half, building a 13-point lead that it rode through the second half, as Arcadia desperately tried to claw its way back. Despite the final margin of eight, the game was never really in doubt, as the Apaches (5-15, 0-7) finished the game on a 16-5 run, playing the bulk of that time against the Crescenta Valley reserves.

“We need to start playing at the beginning of the game with that intensity [they we showed in the second half],” Arcadia Coach Ben Cordeiro said.

The Falcons were led in scoring by Nick Springer, who poured in a game-high 22 points. The junior made six three-pointers with two each in the first, second and fourth quarters. Cole Currie contributed 13 points with nine in the first quarter, keying the Falcons’ quick start. The senior guard also consistently pushed the tempo while setting up his teammates for scores. Kris Jabourian joined them in double figures with 11 points, including three from long distance. Crescenta Valley made 11 three-pointers.

“[CV] made some shots,” Cordeiro said. “You’ve got to give them credit. They’ve got some shooters. You know they’re not undefeated in league for [no] reason. They’re a good team.”

The Crescenta Valley defense was solid and consistently forced the Apaches to take shots with a high degree of difficulty. However, Arcadia rose to the challenge and consistently converted those chances, especially senior Brian Taylor, who had a team-high 21 points. Fellow senior Stephen Smith added 14 points, with all coming in the second half, including a four-point play with 35 seconds left as the Apaches closed a fourth-quarter deficit that peaked at 19 points after Currie dished to Jabourian for a three-pointer.

“I thought we did a real good job defensively,” Zargarian said. “[Arcadia] made a lot of mid-range shots and you’ve got to take your hat off to kids who can make tough shots like that.”

Crescenta Valley seized control of the game midway through the second quarter with a 10-0 scoring burst after the Apaches had pulled to within five. Currie got it started with a behind-the-back assist to Jabourian, who drained a three from the top of the key. Arcadia then traveled, followed by a pass from the inside by Elliot Wilson to Springer, who drained another three. After Arcadia missed a shot, Jabourian rebounded it and drove up court, spinning at the center line as he threw the ball forward to Ryan Schloessmann for a lay-in. Eric Patten finished the run with an offensive rebound and put-back, after which Crescenta Valley led, 34-19.

The Falcons play next at home versus Glendale on Tuesday.

“We’ve played about seven games in 10 days, so we’re excited to relax for a day or two,” Zargarian concluded.

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