WOODLAND HILLS — With every summer league contest, there is seemingly a new challenge for the Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team.
The Falcons ran into a 6-foot-5, 240-pound mini-mountain in the form of Bullard High of Fresno incoming senior center Calvin Young at the War on the Floor Tournament at Los Angeles Pierce College.
While Young was a menace throughout, the Falcons displayed some good defensive-decision making and showcased their own standouts in seniors Eric Patten and Kevin Dinges in a 46-43 victory in a Gold Bracket quarterfinal game.
With the victory, the Falcons moved into Sunday’s Gold Bracket semifinal at either 1 or 2:15 p.m. against a team yet to be determined. The information was not available at time of publication.
A win in that contest would vault the Falcons into Sunday’s 6 p.m. final.
“We played well in certain moments and Eric did a great job against [Young],” Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian said. “[Young] has the physical tools and is a strong player, but Eric played excellent defense.”
Young finished 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in a great one-on-one battle with the 6-5, 210-pound Patten, who tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds and one block.
Part of Patten’s heady defensive plan was on display late just as the Knights pulled within 44-40 with 1:44 left when slashing senior guard Quinn Rystad scored on a back-door layup set up off an assist from Young.
The Falcons turned the ball over on their next offensive series, which gave Bullard possession with 1:30 left.
Knights guard Kevin Howland-Wolaridge quickly fed Young 20 feet from the basket with Patten guarding on what appeared to be an isolation play.
Rather than fall for a pump fake far from the basket, Patten played off Young and dared him to take a long-distance shot.
Young did just that, attempting to connect on a running 15-foot jump shot that rimmed out.
The miss was rebounded by Dinges, who brought the ball up court, which eventually led to teammate Eric Bae being fouled with 47.3 seconds left.
Bae iced the game by connecting on both free throws to put the Falcons up 46-40.
Bullard did have a pair of possessions remaining in which Young touched the ball twice.
However, on one series he shot a three-pointer wide and on the final kicked out to another teammate.
“I’m a tall, skinny white guy and it was fun playing against someone who’s bigger than I am and someone I’m not supposed to be able to play with,” Patten said. “I took pride in playing my best against him.”
Young’s 11 points came on 12 shots in which the center was five for five on buckets inside 10 feet and 0 for 7 from beyond.
“He has an advantage on me, but when he chooses to ignore that advantage and take outside shots, hey, I’m going to give them to him,” Patten said.
Dinges added 11 points and nine rebounds and proved an important stopper on a few Knights’ runs.
Crescenta Valley led, 24-15, at the half, but saw its advantage trimmed to 26-21 after a three-pointer from Vance Sams with 19:01 left in the second half.
The Falcons quickly answered when a cutting Dinges fed junior Berj Krikorian for a 12-footer on the next possession to put the Falcons back up, 28-21.
Later in the half, the Knights again surged and pulled with 37-33 with 8:22 remaining. Dinges again responded, this time attacking the paint and kicking to Patten, who drained a 22-footer to give the Falcons a seven-point lead.
“He’s awesome, he’s a beast and he’s been waiting for this opportunity,” Zargarian said of Dinges. “We’re looking forward to his play during the season.”