Hays comes through big time at Madras

The third-ranked La Salle Falcons continued to get it done in Tri-Valley Conference boys basketball last week, stretching their win string to 13 with wins at 11th-ranked Madras (65-54) and at Estacada (63-13).

“This gives us 13 straight wins, which is something we haven’t done in this century,” said La Salle coach Jared Curtiss. “We’re hungry to keep the streak going.”

The Falcons (17-1, 4-0), whose only loss this season was a Dec. 18 game at second-ranked Cascade (17-1), were to conclude the first half of the Tri-Valley Conference season on Tuesday (Jan. 29), hosting 15th-ranked Molalla (11-6, 3-1).

The Falcons entertain cross-town rival Gladstone (9-6, 2-2) next Tuesday.

Last week’s game with Madras was a barnburner. La Salle senior point guard Ian Johnson hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first period to put the Falcons up 15-13, and he hit a 30-footer at the end of the first half to gain the Falcons a six-point lead, at 34-28.

Madras rallied back to take a one-point lead late in the third quarter, when Bryson Spino hit a 3 from the corner.

Jacob McGraw answered with a trey for La Salle, putting the Falcons on top for good, at 46-44, heading into the fourth quarter.

La Salle senior post Sean Hays and Johnson were huge for the Falcons. Despite sitting big minutes on the bench in foul trouble, Hays hit 11-of-13 shots from the floor for a game-high 24 points, rejected three shots, claimed seven rebounds and made three assists. Johnson had five assists to go with his 14 points.

Curtiss commented: “Sean had a great game that looked like last summer, when he averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds. He had balance, he used three moves to score his points, and he really looked like the best player in our league tonight.

“Ian has really elevated his game since swinging last year, and he has become an all-league player as well. He scored 14 on 9 shots and he had 5 pivotal assists. Very impressive. Sean and Ian Johnson carried us to a tough road win.”

Last Friday’s game with Estacada was a mismatch from the outset, as the Rangers were missing several players who had been suspended for violations of team rules.

McGraw opened the game with two dunks. The Falcons forced 25 turnovers and limited Estacada players to 3-for-30 shooting.

Hays and McGraw led a balanced Falcon offense, scoring 10 points apiece in just 11 minutes on the floor.

Johnson had four assists, four steals and five points.

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