The Falcons are dominant close to the basket

La Salle Prep is off to an impressive start in boys basketball.

The Falcons have won four of their first five games, despite a late start by several players who were a part of La Salle's state championship in football.

The Falcons have posted wins over De La Salle (85-39), Elmira (82-68), Valley Catholic (60-52) and Stayton (64-55). Their lone early season loss was in a close game (61-54) with a Central team that placed fourth at state a year ago.

Jacob McGraw, a 6-5 junior, has been a force, leading the Falcons in scoring in four games, and averaging 18 points through play last Friday.

McGraw, (19 points), 6-2 senior Daniel Lashbaugh (16 points) and 6-8 senior Justin Stangel (10 points) carried most of the load in last Friday's win over the Eagles.

McGraw, Stangel and 6-5 junior Sean Hayes dominated the inside play, hauling down 27 rebounds between them. Lashbaugh sparked the Falcons with six assists and four steals.

McGraw and Stangel scored 19 and 13 points respectively in the loss to Central. Stangel was 5-of-7 from the field, and he hauled down nine rebounds in the losing effort. Lashbaugh made six assists.

McGraw (20 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) was at the top of his game in last week's 60-52 win over Valley Catholic.

Stangel claimed 12 rebounds.

Gladstone (1-1) won 62-41 at Astoria on Thursday, after dropping its season opener to Yamhill-Carlton 68-60 earlier in the week.

Putnam has been competitive in preseason, posting wins over Class 6A Aloha (54-40) and Cleveland (55-51), and losing close games with Class 6A Canby (73-69) and Summit (69-61). Canby (2-1) finished last week ranked eighth in the state in the OSAA 6A rankings.

Last Friday's game with Canby was tied at 67-67 with under a minute to play.

'I like that we are competing as hard as we are competing,' said Putnam coach Gregg Griffin. 'We're loading up with 6A schools to get us prepared for league.'

Putnam 6-3 junior guard Deshawn Stephens has been a force for the Kingsmen in preseason, averaging 18 points an outing.

Stephens scored 31 points, claimed eight rebounds, stole the ball four times and served up three assists in Friday's game with the Cougars.

Putnam senior post Jacob Garrison battled tough on the inside scoring 10 points and snagging nine rebounds.

Missed free throws made last week's game with Cleveland closer than it should have been. The Kingsmen led by 14 points in the third quarter and they led by 10 in the fourth stanza.

Stephens (15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), 6-1 senior wing Dustin Bolander (13 points) and Garrison (11 points) headed the effort against Cleveland. Austin Smith, a 6-2 senior, hauled down 11 rebounds. Senior wing Cameron VanLeuven made six assists.

Playing a tough schedule, Milwaukie (0-3) has struggled in preseason, losing to Class 6A powers Pendleton (67-58), Central Catholic (65-52) and South Salem (73-70). Central Catholic placed third at the 2011 Class 6A state tournament.

West Linn (3-0) was the only Three Rivers League boys team still unbeaten heading into play this week.

Clackamas was 2-2, with wins over Madison (63-49) and Sprague (61-52), and losses to Tigard (60-48) and Grant (71-56).

Sophomore guard Andrew Gutwig burned the nets for 29 points in last Friday's win at Sprague.

Oregon City (0-4) was still searching for its first win, having lost to Westview (79-51), Centennial twice (77-70 and 65-49), and Newberg (74-60).

Senior wing A.J. Mayo scored 20 points in last Friday's loss to Newberg.

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