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No. 7 Falcons dodge a bullet

Vince Hicks is missing, but Brian D'Amore comes to play in a 50-41 win over North Marion

MILWAUKIE - The seventh-ranked La Salle Falcons had their hands full in defeating North Marion 50-41 in their Capital Conference opener on Friday.

Vince Hicks, their leading scorer, saw less than a minute of playing time and went scoreless on the night, after spraining his ankle on the opening tip-off.

Fortunately for the Falcons, two juniors came to the rescue.

Brian D'Amore, a 5-8 guard, had a career night, scoring a game-high 15 points. And Taylor Knoth, a 6-2 forward, tallied 13 points and was a force on the backboards.

'Brian contributed like a Mighty Mouse,' said La Salle coach Rick Earl. 'He's a little guy but he doesn't back away from anyone. He was huge off the bench tonight. He hit three 3's and he made 4-for-5 free throws.

'It's only like his third varsity game, but I've been impressed with Brian since the first time I met him. The first time I saw him he took three elbows, but he kept coming back for more. He's one tough kid.'

D'Amore scored 12 of his points in the second half, when the Huskies were attempting to mount a comeback.

'It was a very competitive game,' said Earl. 'We missed a lot of free throws and we had too many turnovers.'

Earl said that Hicks will likely be out of action for 'at least a week.'

Without Hicks, the Falcons (9-2, 1-0) will have their hands full this Friday, when they host co-10th-ranked Cascade (7-5, 0-0).

Falcons meet

their match

SISTERS - La Salle's boys basketball team got a tough draw in the opening round of a four-team tournament held here Dec. 28-29 and fell to second-ranked Junction City, 54-45.

'They're a very disciplined team,' said La Salle coach Earl Clark. 'You don't want to get down when you're playing them.'

Clark said that the Tigers turned to a very patient half-court game, after going on top 22-18 in the first period.

The seventh-ranked Falcons regrouped the next day and topped 10th-ranked Tillamook for the second time this season, 49-41.

The Falcons pulled away in the fourth quarter, when they out-scored the Cheesemakers 15-6.

'It was a very physical game,' said Clark. 'They played zone [defense] and I think that by the fourth quarter we were a little quicker than they were.'

Senior forward Vince Hicks had a huge tournament for the Falcons, hitting eleven 3-pointers and scoring a total of 38 points in the Falcons' two tournament games. Hicks scored 28 points and had six 3-pointers in the loss to Junction City.

Clark said he was impressed with the play of Taylor Knoth in the win over Tillamook.

'Taylor really stepped it up,' said Clark. 'He did a great job rebounding and he played great defense. He took three charges.'

Clark said he was also pleased with the ball handling of junior guard Tyler West.

'He came in in the second half when our starters were struggling and played really solid,' said Clark. 'He made a couple of big shots, and he did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball.'