After helping the Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team reach the semifinals and qualify for the state tournament for the second straight season, Cole Currie reflected on the accomplishments from each season.
The senior point guard, regarded as the linchpin to the Falcons’ offensive attack with a knack for also grabbing a big rebound or threading a nifty pass to a sprinting teammate upcourt for an assist, had no difficulty drawing up a comparison between the two teams.
“Last year, we expected a lot of success because we had a lot of experienced players who had been together for a long time,” Currie said. “I think this year was a lot more impressive because we didn’t have a lot of guys who had played together.
“We were able to piece things together and developed along the way. That made it that much more fun and rewarding being out there on the court. This season was a lot of fun.”
Currie was the lone starter to return to the Falcons, who lost Christian Misi, Davis Dragovich, Rudy Avila and Dylan Kilgour to graduation. Surrounded by a new cast of players with a dearth of varsity experience, Currie found himself starting over with the weight of being the Falcons’ go-to player.
From the start, Currie, a four-year varsity athlete, embraced the situation at hand.
In order to succeed at that role, Currie found himself spending extra time in the school’s gymnasium — before the bell chimed for him to attend his first class or after a 90-minute practice session. His shooting skills improved, paving the way for the Falcons to place second in the competitive Pacific League before making return trips to the CIF Southern Section Division I-A semifinals and the first round of the CIF State Division I tournament.
“We grew up this year,” Currie said. “We had a list of expectations.
“We had a group of players who wanted to learn. Our practices were fluid. That’s a testament to our coaching staff.”
Currie averaged 19.1 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists per game en route to being named the league’s co-most valuable player. It was Currie’s stellar campaign that led him to be voted the 2013 All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun.
Crescenta Valley finished 23-9, 11-3 in league. In the postseason, where the Falcons were awarded the fourth seed, Currie and Co. posted playoff victories against Paloma Valley, Edison and Long Beach Millikan before falling to top-seeded El Toro. Crescenta Valley was eliminated by host Crenshaw in the first round of the state tournament.
After Crescenta Valley fared well in a couple of tournaments in December, Currie set the tone for the Falcons during the first several league games in early January.
He finished with 29 points to lead Crescenta Valley to a 69-60 league-opening road victory against Muir on Jan. 4. Currie didn’t stop there. He scored a season-high 34 points to spark Crescenta Valley to a 69-50 road win against Glendale on Jan. 7. He registered 21 first-half points, matching Glendale’s output.
“We picked it up winning those first two league games on the road,” said Currie, who averaged 11.3 points and three rebounds per game and led the team with 109 assists last season. “The focus that I had on playing in league was the most I had ever had.
“In the first half of league, we were clicking on all cylinders. We had guys like Elliot Wilson, Kris Jabourian and Nick Springer doing all sorts of things well. The whole team was energized.”
Currie averaged 19.6 points per league contest.
“His first two games in league were something else,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian, who was selected the All-Area Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year for the second straight season. “You sit back and watch your go-to guy take over a game.
“That’s exactly what he did. He did everything well, from passing to shooting to defending. In my eight years of coaching [at Crescenta Valley], I don’t know if I’ve ever seen somebody more focused and determined to succeed as a player than Cole. I wouldn’t at all be shocked if he was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame some day. He did set the standard for these teams.”
Crescenta Valley junior Nick Springer, who earned a spot on the all-league first team, said Currie’s poise played a role in the Falcons succeeding in league.
“You could see it game in and game out, right on through the playoffs,” said Springer, who averaged 13 points and six rebounds per game. “He has so many different intangibles that the rest of the guys fed off of.
“Cole and I clicked automatically. We had two great runs together. I want to make it a point to take the torch from him and try to help the team win games next year.”
Currie said he won’t forget what the Falcons got done during his time on the hardwood.
Reflecting on the achievements is part of the reward for success.
“You want to be able to create a legacy by having a team with a strong group of players who went out there and played their best every night,” said Currie, who ranks eighth on the school’s all-time points list with 1,496. “I’m proud of being able to be a part of a team that’s had so much going for them.
“I’ve had people in school, some of them I’ve never met before, and they say they are supporting the team and I. That’s what it’s all about.”