The top scorer in the history of the Golden Valley High boys basketball program is Ryan Crane. His No. 23 jersey is hanging in a case on the wall of Cougar Arena.
It’s the only basketball jersey retired by the school.
The eventual No. 2 all-time scorer will be on the court, wearing No. 15 for the Cougars on Wednesday night when Golden Valley (17-6 overall and 6-2 in the Central California Conference) travels to El Capitan (18-5, 7-1 CCC) in a conference showdown with first place in the conference up for grabs.
The game is scheduled to start at 7:15.
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Cougars senior Cyrus Allen entered the season ninth on GV’s all-time scoring list. With his 323 points this year, he’s has ascended his way to No. 3 on the list with 1,215 career points.
He trails only Crane (1,673 points) and Brandon Booth (1,244). Allen needs just 30 points to move into the No. 2 spot with four games left in the regular season.
“It would mean a lot,” Allen said. “It’s not like I’ve dreamed about it, but when I was a freshman, one of my goals was to get to 1,000 points during my varsity career.”
Allen has one advantage over all the other players who have played at Golden Valley. He was the first four-year player for Cougars coach Keith Hunter.
Allen scored 140 points his freshman season. Only one other player that finished in the top 25 all-time in points for the Cougars scored a point as a freshman and that was Rob Martinez, who scored one point his freshman year. Allen holds the freshman and sophomore (274) school records for points in a season.
Why was Allen the first freshman to play varsity from the start?
“Cyrus grew two or three inches that summer before coming to Golden Valley,” Hunter said. He was only about 6-2 in eighth grade. That year we didn’t have anybody his size on the team. And he was very athletic.”
Golden Valley assistant coach Jerry Stillahn just recently compiled the all-time scoring list. Stillahn has all the scoring books dating back to when the school opened 23 years ago.
Hunter was surprised to see Allen near the top of the list because when he thinks of his 6-foot-5 center, another skill comes to mind.
“Cyrus is a rebounding machine,” Hunter said. “That’s always been a strength. Every day he works so hard in practice. He’s a great athlete who gives a supreme effort.
“It’s not like he’s a prolific scorer. To have a chance to end up at number two says a lot, because No. 1 was a prolific scorer. And Booth is at No. 2 and he was a three-year guy.”
Amazingly, Crane scored his 1,673 points in just two seasons, averaging 28.7 points his junior season and 27.1 points his senior year.
Allen is averaging 17 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 19 games played this season.
The Cougars star has put up some monster games during his career. This year he scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a win against East Union on December 9 in which he made 11 of 13 shots from the floor.
Last year against Atwater he scored 24 points and hauled in 30 rebounds in a 65-53 win. He also had a 32-point, 21-rebound night against Stagg last season.
Looking back, Allen wishes he could play his freshman and sophomore seasons over with the knowledge and improvement he’s gained playing four years for a 400-win coach in Hunter.
He’s taller now. He plays more physical and he can score in a variety of ways.
“The game plan is to make him go right, but he’s so good going left he figures out a way,” said El Capitan coach Adrian Hurtado. “We know when he gets the ball he’s tough to guard. He has a knack for getting his own misses. He’ll either get the rebound or get fouled.”
There’s nothing conventional about Allen’s games. First of all, like Hurtado pointed out, Allen is left-handed. For years coaches and fans in the stands have yelled for defenders to make Allen go right during games. It’s not easy.
He looks for any opening to get off his shot, which can lead to some funky attempts.
“He’s unorthodox in the way he scores,” Hunter said. “He’ll put up a floater one time, he’ll dribble the ball different, he’ll shoot from different angles. He’s not text book, but he knows how to score around the rim.”
Allen averaged just 5.6 points per game as a freshman. He improved that to 10.1 points as a sophomore. Last season Allen scored 17.7 points.
“He’s relentless in a lot of ways,” Hunter said. “Missed shots for him are likes passes to himself a lot of times. He just gets up and goes after it.”
Allen has his attention on Wednesday night’s showdown against the Gauchos. A win and Golden Valley pulls even atop the CCC with El Capitan with two wins over the Gauchos this season. A loss and El Capitan basically wraps up the CCC with a two game lead with just three games left on the Gauchos’ schedule.
“The whole team is looking forward to this game,” Allen said. “I’m looking forward to the game. We want to get the win. I want to win CCC for my team. That’s one thing I wanted to do while I was in high school, I wanted to win a CCC championship.”
Golden Valley All-Time Scoring Leaders
1. Ryan Crane (1998-1999), 1,673
2. Brandon Booth (1995-1997), 1,244
3. Cyrus Allen (2015-2018), 1,215
4. John Sykes (2007-2009), 1,116
5. Ranger Weins (1996-1998), 1,082
6. Evan Stillahn (2012-2014), 1,031
7. Rob Martinez (2010-2012), 959
8. Christian Carroll (2012-2014), 928
9. Alex Fletcher (2007-2009), 888
10. Aaron Castleton (1995-1997), 873
11. Kevin Holmes (1995-1997), 855
12. Reid Herschenbach (2004-2006), 830
13. Trek Fayerweather (2009-2011), 780
14. Darrell Jacobs (1998-2000), 746
15. Troy Cunha (2001-2002), 735