By Tom Hendrickson
Music and cheering came out of the locker room as Crescenta Valley (26-4) celebrated their quarterfinal victory over El Toro (21-9) Friday night, 61-49.
The Chargers took a 6-2 lead at the start, however the Falcons recovered and were up 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. With Davis Dragovich cashing in a basket and a three and Rudy Avila adding a basket, CV went on a 7-0 run to start the 2nd Quarter. El Toro’s Coach Todd Dixon quickly called timeout at the 5:27 mark to settle his players. Cody White hit a bucket to stop the CV run. CV’s Rudy Avila (6′ 7″) and El Toro’s Jordan Faison (6′ 6″) battled all game and during a sequence in the quarter, Avila took it right at Faison for a basket, then hustled back and played great vertical defense to force a miss by Faison. CV went into the break up 25-19.
El Toro’s White hit a three beginning the second half and the Chargers quickly erased the Falcons halftime lead going up 30-29. It was the first lead since the first quarter. CV quickly responded with a 7-0 run as Tade Keshishyan and Christian Misi each hit threes and Misi added a free throw, but the Chargers added five of their own to bring the score to 36-35 CV.
Crescenta Valley’s Cole Currie hit crucial back-to-back 3′s and the Falcons headed to the fourth quarter up 42-35.
El Toro’s sub George Buaku converted one and one to break CV’s surge and the Chargers hung close. Avila fouled out with 4:52 on the clock and Keshishyan replaced him.
With the score 49-43, Keshishyan hit a 3 from the left corner (3:18) and followed it up with two free throws on a one plus the bonus and the Falcons raced to a 57-43 lead. All that was left was to run out the clock as El Toro fouled trying to get back in the game. CV hit 10-14 free throws in the quarter to maintain the advantage.
Coach Shawn Zargarian singled out the defensive effort, Currie’s back-to-back threes, Misi constantly attacking the rim and Keshishyan’s baseline three and free throws. His also said, “…I can’t think straight, so happy for my players and their chance for this experience.”
Misi led CV with 15 points. He told us after the game, he felt he put too much pressure on himself the first two games and played more relaxed tonight. He also had a spring in his step as he jumped up defensively and on the boards. CV scoring was balanced, Currie 14, Dragovich 13, and Keshishyan 10.
El Toro’s Faison had 18 before fouling out late in the fourth and White added 15.
Falcons semi-final opponent is the #1 seed Mission Viejo Diablos.
Gametime is 7:00 PM, Tuesday, February 28th at Mission Viejo.
El Toro 11 8 19 16 14 49
Crescenta Valley 12 13 25 17 19 61