La Salle boys and La Salle girls cruise to berths in the Class 4A State Tournament

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - With two state championship banners in the background, La Salle 6-5 senior Jacob McGraw puts up a shot in Fridays state playoff win over Scappoose. Sporting a 23-2 record heading into this weeks Class 4A State Tournament, the Falcons had high hopes of bringing a boys basketball state championship banner back to their school. If they are successful, it will be their first state championship in the sport since 1986.La Salle Preps’ boys and girls basketball teams last weekend continued to prove themselves among the top Class 4A high school teams in the state, routing their opponents in the final round of the Class 4A state high school playoffs.

La Salle’s fourth-ranked girls team on Saturday made it 13 wins in a row, dispatching with 15th-ranked Phoenix 52-26; La Salle’s third-ranked boys team cruised to a 50-39 win over 21st-ranked Scappoose in a Friday night game in La Salle’s “Brick Oven.”

The Falcon guys (23-2, 9-1) were to meet cross-town rival Gladstone (14-9, 5-5) on Tuesday (March 5) in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State High School Boys Basketball Tournament, which runs through Friday at Oregon State University’s Gill Coliseum. Gladstone advanced to the quarterfinals with a 51-42 upset of sixth-ranked Central.

The winner of Tuesday’s boys quarterfinal will face eighth-ranked Sutherlin (19-7) or second-ranked North Valley (24-0) Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in the championship semifinals.

La Salle girls (22-3, 10-0) square off with fifth-ranked Cascade (19-5) in today’s quarterfinals. With a win they’d meet top-ranked Mazama (24-2) or ninth-ranked Brookings (19-7) Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the semifinals.

The boys entered the state tournament averaging 58 points a game, to 40 points by their opponents.

La Salle girls entered today’s game averaging 61 points, to 37 points by their opponents.

The boys’ only losses on the regular season were to 10th-ranked Molalla (54-50 in overtime) on Jan. 29, and to top-ranked Cascade (61-51) on Dec. 18.

It’s the first time La Salle has advanced a boys team to the final eight since 2007, when the Falcons exited the state tournament early, with losses to 2007 state champion Baker (69-59) and to Yamhill-Carlton (65-48) in their first two games.

La Salle girls have lost only three games heading into the 2013 state tournament, to Class 3A state powerhouse Valley Catholic (53-46) on Dec. 3, at sixth-ranked Banks (48-46) on Jan. 5, and at 10th-ranked Seaside (58-50) on Jan. 8.

For La Salle girls, it’s their first trip to the final eight since 2011, when they dropped a 58-56 heartbreaker to Cascade in the championship final.

After a slow start, La Salle girls took charge in the second quarter of last Saturday’s playoff game with Phoenix (17-9, 6-4), outscoring the visiting Pirates 19-7 in the second quarter and 22-2 in the third stanza.

Sterling Swift (17 points) and Morgan McSmith (10 points) headed a Falcon offense that saw nine La Salle players put points on the scoreboard.

La Salle guys also took charge in the second quarter of their playoff game with Scappoose.

The Cowapa League champion Indians (14-10, 9-1) took the air out of the ball in the first quarter and they trailed by only a point, at 6-5, at the end of the first quarter. The Falcons turned up the pressure on defense and upped the tempo of play in the second quarter, and they outscored their guests 17-2, rallying to a 23-7 halftime advantage.

Jacob McGraw and Sean Hays headed up the offensive effort for La Salle, scoring 13 and 11 points respectively. Alex Soberanis (9 points) hit three 3-pointers, two of them during the second-quarter run.

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