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Falcons bring home hardware


La Salle boys place third and La Salle girls earn fourth place

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Senior Jake Maes is congratulated after making his fourth 3-pointer in La Salles third-place final with Philomath at the Class 4A State Championship Basketball Tournament. Maes was named La Salle Player of the Game, as the Falcons topped the Warriors 45-43.CORVALLIS — La Salle Prep’s boys and girls basketball teams both did themselves proud at last week’s Class 4A High School Championship Basketball Tournament, held Tuesday (March 5) through Friday (March 8) at Gill Coliseum.

La Salle’s third-ranked boys team lived up to its billing, defeating fourth-ranked Philomath 45-37 in the third-place final, after bouncing back from a tough 50-45 loss to 2013 state champion North Valley in the championship semifinals. The Falcons took care of business with cross-town rival Gladstone, winning 36-27, in the quarterfinals.

La Salle’s fourth-ranked girls team dropped a 43-42 heartbreaker to fifth-ranked Cascade in the quarterfinals, but bounced back with wins over ninth-ranked Brookings (55-38) and sixth-ranked Banks (48-36), to claim fourth place.

La Salle boys finished with a 25-3 record, after going 9-1 and finishing atop the Tri-Valley Conference boys standings; La Salle girls ended up with a 24-4 record, after going 10-0 in conference.

La Salle girls will likely figure in the mix again next season, with 11 players returning from their 13-player state tournament roster, including junior starters Sterling Swift (5-8 guard), Allison Ilg (5-4 point guard), Andrea Novak (5-10 forward) and Morgan McSmith (5-9 guard), and 5-6 sophomore Makenzie Cook, who was one of the first players off the bench this season.

Lost to graduation will be senior starter Natalie Schlechter (5-6 forward) and senior Ellie Mulvaney (5-5 guard).

Novak was the Class 4A girls state tournament’s second leading rebounder, with 25 rebounds in three games.

Among others expected to return to the Falcon girls lineup are: juniors Courtney Crain (5-4 guard) and Katie Buerk (6-0 post), sophomore Tori Goodman (5-8 point guard), and freshmen Alexandra Jansen (5-8 guard), Shannon Tran (5-6 guard) and Maddie Hill (5-9 post).

It will be a building year next season for La Salle Prep boys, who graduate senior starters Sean Hays (6-8 post), Jacob McGraw (6-5 guard), Alex Soberanis (5-8 guard) and Ian Johnson (5-11 guard), along with seniors Colin Meisner (5-10 guard), Valentin Gashongore (6-1 guard), Mark Holenstein (6-1 guard), Jake Maes (5-10 guard) and Austin Swift (6-3 post/guard).

Hays was one of the state tournament’s top scorers (14.7 ppg) and rebounders (8 rpg).

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - La Salle senior Sean Hays battles Philomath junior Ben DeSaulnier (23) for a lose ball in the third-place final of the 2013 Class 4A State Tournament, held at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.McGraw averaged five steals.

Hays was selected to the tournament’s top all-star team; McGraw made the second team.

Expected to return next year are sophomore starter Keeston Smith (6-4 post), juniors Luke Kolln (6-0 guard) and Thomas Callahan (6-5 post), and sophomores Reece Wible (6-5 guard) and Brandon Falk (6-4 post/guard).

Maes fires up

in trophy game

Jake Maes played a pivotal role in La Salle boys’ 35-43 third-place final win over Philomath.

The Falcons struggled to get their shots to drop and they trailed 22-17 at halftime. But Maes hit his third of four 3-pointers early in the third period to rally La Salle to its first lead, at 26-25. And Maes hit his fourth trey to put the Falcons up by six, at 39-33, near the midpoint of the fourth quarter.

The Warriors went on an 8-0 run to re-take the lead, at 41-39.

But Ian Johnson responded with a 3-pointer for La Salle, putting the Falcons back on top for good.

The Warriors missed a three-quarter-court prayer at the final buzzer, and the Falcons celebrated the hard fought victory.

Maes (12 points), Hays (11 points, 9 rebounds) and McGraw (9 points, 4 assists) led a balanced Falcon attack.

Junior guard Ben DeSaulnier (13 points) and senior guard Derek Nash (12 points) headed the effort for Philomath.

Falcons test

North Valley

Trailing 46-35 with 2:31 to play, the Falcons nearly pulled off an upset in their 50-45 loss to North Valley in the championship semifinals.

The Falcons narrowed the gap to 46-43 with 29 seconds remaining on two free throws and a lay-up by McGraw, and two lay-ups by Hays.

Hays scored a third lay-up as time was winding down, but 4-for-4 free throw shooting by the Knights at crunch time put the game on ice.

North Valley went on to top Cascade in the championship final, capping off a perfect 27-0 season.

Hays had a career night in the losing effort, scoring 25 points on 12-for-16 shooting, and hauling down nine rebounds.

The Knights were led by 5-7 senior Kevin Brazille (21 points) and 6-1 junior guard Cameron Lyon (17 points).

Falcons win ugly

over Gladstone

It wasn’t very pretty, but La Salle guys beat their cross-town rivals from Gladstone for the third time this season, 36-27, in a hard fought Class 4A quarterfinal.

The Falcons prevailed while making only 10-of-36 shots (28 percent) from the field, while the Gladiators made 10-of-39 shots (26 percent).

It was the lowest scoring game of the season for both teams. The Falcons entered the contest averaging 54 points, while the Gladiators had averaged 48.

Each team had stretches where they threatened to take control. The Gladiators missed their first nine shots from the floor, but still trailed by just seven points, at 8-1 at the end of the first period. Gladstone sophomore Handsome Smith made Gladstone’s first field goal on a lay-up 34 seconds into the second quarter to trim the Falcons’ lead to 8-3.

The Gladiators missed a few more shots, and Valentin Gashongore’s lay-up near the midpoint of the second period gained the Falcons their biggest lead of the night, at 14-3.

The Gladiators took advantage of some Falcon misses and turnovers to battle back. And Jacob Kelly’s lay-up pulled Gladstone to within two points, at 15-13, at the halftime break.

Back-to-back jumpers by Handsome Smith and Ryun Gibson near the midpoint of the second period gained the Gladiators their only lead of the night, at 19-17.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ian Johnson and Jacob McGraw put La Salle up for good, at 23-19.

Sean Hays answered a Gladiator miss with a jumper to up the gap to 25-19.

And Hays turned a 3-point play to gain his side a 5-point cushion, at 28-23, heading into the fourth quarter.

Neither team made a field goal in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as the two teams combined to go 0-for-10 from the field.

Ian Johnson then went a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe at crunch time to put the Falcons up 34-27 and ice the victory.

No one from either team reached double digits in scoring.

La Salle had a balanced attack, led by McGraw (9 points), Johnson (9 points, 3 assists), Hays (8 points) and Soberanis (8 points, 3 assists).

McGraw made only 3-of-13 shots from the field; Hays went 3-for-12.

Keeston Smith led the Falcons to a 30-27 edge on the backboards, with 10 rebounds. Hays had six rebounds and four blocked shots.

La Salle had 17 turnovers; Gladstone had 13.

Michael Stoutt had a team-high eight points for Gladstone.

Smith and Austin Galvin headed up the Gladiator defensive effort, each with three steals.

La Salle had defeated Gladstone in league play, 42-36 and 40-39.

Gladiators bow out

in consolation semis

Gladstone struggled to find the basket in a March 6 consolation semifinal game with Sutherlin, and the Gladiators bowed out of the Class 4A State Tournament with a 70-59 loss.

The cold shooting, combined with unconscious shooting by Sutherlin 6-2 senior forward Taler Jensen, led to the Gladiators’ downfall. Jensen burned the nets for 39 points, hitting 11-of-15 (73 percent) of his shots from the floor, including seven 3-pointers. Jensen also made 10-of-12 (83 percent) free throws

Aggressive defensive play allowed the Gladiators to keep pace with the Bulldogs most of the way, despite another cold-shooting game. Gladstone was 12-for-36 from the field (33 percent) in the second half, and the Gladiators were only 9-of-23 (39 percent) from the free throw line for the game.

Led by Handsome Smith (6 steals) and Austin Galvin (4 steals), the Gladiators forced 24 turnovers.

Gladstone trailed by only two points, at 30-28, at halftime; and the Gladiators trailed by just one point, at 47-46, heading into the fourth quarter.

It was still a two-point game, with Sutherlin leading 55-53, with 3:53 to play. But the Gladiators missed their next eight shots from the floor.

Ryun Gibson’s lay-up with 1:35 to play made it a seven-point game, at 62-55. But that was as close as the Gladiators could get, as the Bulldogs made their free throws down the stretch.

Ryun Gibson (18 points, 3 assists), Handsome Smith (11 points, 6 assists) and Michael Stoutt (11 points, 3 assists) were the top point-getters for Gladstone.

Gibson corralled 13 rebounds in the losing effort, as the Gladiators held their own on the backboards.

Ranked 15th in the state in Class 4A, Gladstone finished with an overall record of 14-11, after going 5-5 and tying Madras for third place — behind La Salle (9-1) and Molalla (7-3) in the Tri-Valley Conference.

Eighth-ranked Sutherlin (21-8 or 20-9) went on to lose to fifth-ranked North Bend 57-44 in the consolation fourth-place final.

La Salle coeds sink

Banks with depth

Depth proved the difference for La Salle girls in their 48-36 win over Banks in the girls fourth-place final.

Eleven girls saw significant playing time for La Salle, while seven players carried most of the load for the Braves.

La Salle coeds trailed Banks 20-17 at halftime. But the Falcons’ full-court press paid dividends after the break, as the battle-weary Braves turned over the ball and the game.

La Salle was up 33-26 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Falcons widened the gap from there.

Mulvaney (12 points), Schlechter (11 points) and Swift (9 points) headed a balanced offensive assault that saw eight Falcons score.

Led by Schlechter (4 steals), Ilg (3 steals) and Novak (3 steals), the Falcons forced 28 turnovers.

Thanks to a strong rebounding game and their aggressive full-court defense, the Falcons were in charge most of the way in their consolation semifinal with Brookings. Trailing 11-8 at the end of the first period, the Falcons outscored the Bruins 18-7 in the second period, and they were in command the rest of the way.

Led by Schlechter (4 steals), Novak (3 steals) and Goodman (3 steals), the Falcons forced 26 turnovers.

Novak (10 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 assists) excelled at both ends of the floor, as the Falcons earned a 39-28 advantage on the backboards.

Swift (13 points) led nine La Salle players who put points on the scoreboard.

A heartbreaking

quarterfinal loss

La Salle girls dropped a heartbreaker to fifth-ranked Cascade, 43-42, in the March 6 quarterfinals.

The Falcons built as much as a 10-point lead in the first half and they led most of the way.

The Cougars took the lead for the first time, at 34-32, with six minutes to play. And they stretched their advantage to six points, at 42-36 with 2:54 remaining.

But there was no quit in the Falcons. They narrowed the gap to 40-42 on free throws by Morgan McSmith, Allison Ilg, Andrea Novak and Natalie Schlechter.

Following a Cougar turnover, McSmith took the ball to the hoop for a fast-break layup that knotted the score at 42-42 with 33 seconds remaining.

But Cascade senior guard Sadie Trump was fouled on a drive to the basket with 14 seconds left. She hit the first of two free throws for the game-winner.

Cascade got the rebound on the miss, but Schlechter stole the ball and the Falcons called timeout with 10 seconds remaining.

McSmith’s lay-up as time was winding down refused to drop, and the Cougars claimed the rebound and the spoils.

Cold shooting in the second half led to the Falcons’ downfall. They found the mark on only 5-of-21 shots from the floor (23 percent) after the halftime break.

Defense kept the Falcons in the game until the end, despite the cold shooting. They forced 28 turnovers and had 20 steals. McSmith, Ilg, Schlechter and MaKenzie Cook headed the defensive onslaught with 14 steals between them.

Ilg played a strong game all around, with a team-high 14 points — on 6-for-11 shooting, three steals and two blocked shots.

Andrea Novak was tough on the backboards, corralling 10 rebounds.

La Salle offensive star Sterling Swift was guarded closely and scored only six points. She was 1-of-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Junior guard Austyn Lowder (14 points) and senior Kassi Sanders (11 points) led the attack for the Oregon West Conference champion Cougars.

The loss was especially painful for the Falcons, because they had upended the Cougars 73-55 in a Dec. 13 preseason game. Swift had scored 28 points in that contest.