LOS ANGELES - The Crescenta Valley High boys’ basketball team ran into a freight train in the form of El Camino Real in the semifinals of the War on the Floor Tournament at Los Angeles Pierce College on Sunday.
“I'm frustrated by the loss,” Crescenta Valley's Kevin Dinges said. “I take every game seriously no matter what. This team came ready to play and we were a little bit lagging in the beginning. They came through and blew us out.”
El Camino Real, last year's L.A. City Section runner-up, defeated the Falcons, 67-38.
“To understand the level they need to play at to compete with a team like that,” Crescenta Valley Coach Shawn Zargarian said of the lessons he hopes his team took away from the loss. “I told the guys after the game, as funny as it sounds, it was good for us. I think we needed a loss like that where we got our butts kicked a little bit. Open up our eyes and make us realize that to be successful we have to play at a high level all of the time. We can't walk into a game just expecting a win.”
The contest was never really in doubt. The Conquistadors jumped out to a 19-6 advantage and extended that lead to 40-23 at halftime. El Camino Real went up by as many as 31 while the Falcons suffered a nine-minute scoreless drought in the second half.
Dinges finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. No other Falcon scored in double-digits. Early on, the rising junior was all Crescenta Valley had going, as he scored 10 of his team first 13 points, with the other contribution a three-pointer from Eric Patten that Dinges assisted on.
“He's definitely a guy we'll run the ball through all year,” Zargarian said. “Time will allow us to develop another guy to step up.”
Josiah Woods led the Conquistadors with 22 points and eight rebounds. Maleke Haynes added 14 points.
Dinges, who played on the junior varsity squad last year, sees summer league play as a way to build chemistry.
“It's all about building chemistry in the summer and getting to know the guys,” Dinges said. “I'm new to this team, so that's the best thing for me.”
Crescenta Valley finished the War on the Floor with a 4-1 record.
“You don't want to get too high, you don't want to get too low,” Zargarian said. “At the end of the day, it's summer, it's a learning experience. That's why as weird as it sounds, a loss like this is good at this time.”