LOS ANGELES — For the second game in a row, the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team found itself in a quick double-digit hole.
Unlike the Falcons' CIF Southern Section Division I-A semifinal game at El Toro, they managed to climb back into serious contention – within two, six and eight points – in their CIF State Division I tournament opener at Crenshaw High.
The result was the same for CV, however, as a handful of poorly timed turnovers helped end its season with an 89-74 loss Wednesday night.
“We did a good job of putting the last game behind us, but it's hard when you find yourself almost in the same position,” Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian said of the 68-38 semifinal loss to El Toro, in which the Falcons trailed by 15 in the first quarter.
The Cougars (20-9) were led by a formidable one-two punch in Micah Winn and Andre Edwards. Winn finished with a game-high 33 points and Edwards was behind him with 21. Winn scored 24 points in the first half and Edwards erupted for 14 over the final 16 minutes.
Crescenta Valley (24-9) was boosted by a team-high 19 points from its senior guard Cole Currie and also benefited from a double-double from junior forward Eric Patten, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
After finding itself down 13 just 4:27 into the game, the Falcons opened the second quarter strong and used an 11-4 run to pull within two, 24-22, with about 4:30 left in the first half.
Winn and Edwards supplied Crenshaw with the next six points, which put the home team ahead, eight with 3:10 left.
CV's Nick Springer (11 points) cashed in a putback to halt the wave of momentum momentarily before a Winn baseline jumper and consecutive Falcons turnovers led to easy Crenshaw buckets. Edwards grabbed a steal and cashed in the layup and then grabbed another one on the ensuing possession, which led to a Winn three-pointer with 1:52 to play to cap another 7-0 Crenshaw run.
“We played scared, you know, because these guys are athletic and we haven't played a team like this in an environment like this,” Patten said of Crescenta Valley's 24 turnovers in the game.
“It felt like every turnover led to a bucket,” Zargarian added.
Kevin Yoo (seven points) looked to give the Falcons something to build on heading into the halftime when he drilled a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left in the opening half. The Cougars had the last laugh, as Desmond Maxwell hit a buzzer-beating jumper from the corner to give Crenshaw a 46-33 edge heading into the intermission.
The third quarter ended on a similar note, as CV's Elliot Wilson and Eric Bae (eight points) hit consecutive threes with 1:18 and six seconds to play in the third, respectively, to bring the Falcons within 59-51. Edwards delivered a dagger, buzzer-beating three to keep Crenshaw up 11 heading into the final eight minutes.
“We had it down to eight and they stuck a three at the buzzer,” lamented Zargarian, who saw Currie hit a three to open the fourth. “It would have been eight, our ball and then who knows?”
Crenshaw used a 15-3 run to take a commanding 18-5 lead 4:27 into the game. Winn nearly provided most of the offense, scoring 11 in that span. CV pulled within nine, 20-11, by the end of the first quarter with Currie nailing consecutive three-pointers.
Graduating seven players -- including Currie, Kris Jaborian, Ryan Schloessmann and Wilson – it would appear the Falcons have a tough season ahead of them in 2014, but Patten knows better than to count next year's group out after what he saw his team achieve in 2013.
“Last year we had big shoes to fill and I think we have big shoes to fill from this year,” Patten said. “I know we have the right guys to do it, me, Nick and Berj [Krikorian] can step up and do what we have to do.”