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La Cañada's Graves shares Rio Hondo League's top accolade

La Cañada's Graves shares Rio Hondo League's top accolade
La Cañada High boys' basketball player Ryan Graves, left, was named the Rio Hondo League co-Most Valuable Player after averaging 10.5 points per game and helping the Spartans win the league crown. (Tim Berger | Staff Photographer)

After recovering from surgery shortly after the season tipped off, Ryan Graves whipped himself into shape.

It took a while for the talented La Cañada boys’ basketball player to get back on track. Once Graves did, things turned out well for the junior forward.

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Graves regrouped, averaging 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, en route to being named the Rio Hondo League co-Most Valuable Player with Blair senior forward Desmond Washington.

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“I missed the first couple of weeks of practice and then the first five games of the season,” said Graves, who helped La Cañada win the league championship by one game over Blair. “I wanted to get right back at it and help the team out and we got a lot done.

“It’s great to get an honor like that and we had a very good team. I got a little bit more aggressive and shot the ball extremely well. The ball was always moving and guys made shots. We stayed within the system designed by [La Cañada] coach [Tom] Hofman.”

Hofman, who won his 700th career game Jan. 19, said Graves provided the Spartans with an added dimension.

“Ryan came back and he did a great job,” said Hofman, who is 706-214 and has piloted the Spartans to 32 league championships since taking over the program in 1986. “He did very well in league.

“He found a way to make the critical shots and he’s going to be a big part of the team next year.”

Two Spartans were bestowed with all-league first-team accolades, one was named to the second team and another received honorable mention.

Senior guards Patric Panoosi and Brendan Co were selected to the first team.

Panoosi averaged 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

“Patric was one of our best defenders,” Hofman said. “He always found a way to make a lot of big plays.”

Co contributed 11.5 points, 4.6 assists, three rebounds and 2.1 steals per contest.

“He’s the engine of our team,” Hofman said. “He’s another player who went out there and did everything well.”

Jivan Shirvanian, a senior center, was selected to the second team. He averaged 7.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Kristan Cotangco, a senior guard, registered 3.5 points and 1.7 rebounds per game to pick up honorable mention.

La Cañada went 19-10, 9-1 in league. The Spartans fell to Campbell Hall in a CIF Southern Section Division II-AA first-round game.

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