by: PHIL HAWKINS - Damian Espinoza knocks down a pair of free throws late in Fridays game at West Salem to give the Bulldogs a 51-46 lead. The Titans went on to hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to pull out a 52-51 victory over Woodburn.West Salem 52, Woodburn 51

After leading throughout most of the game, the Bulldogs gave up two late 3-pointers to the Titans to fall in a non-conference game at West Salem High School Friday night.

Woodburn’s Damian Espinoza led the team with 22 points, including two free throws with 1:20 left in the game to put Woodburn up 51-46.

But the Titans hit a 3-pointer on their next possession to cut Woodburn’s lead in half.

West Salem got their chance to take the lead late after forcing a Woodburn turnover. After the Titans failed on a two-point attempt, the team gathered the offensive rebound near the 3-point line and connected with eight seconds left to take a one-point lead.

With one possession left to regain the lead, Rey Ruiz’s pass to Daniel Labunsky was intercepted near the 3-point line, and the Bulldogs went on to their seventh loss of the season.

Ruiz finished the game with 14 points, while Labunsky and Jonny Guerrero each chipped in five.

Woodburn (2-7) was scheduled to host The Dalles (1-8) Tuesday before opening their league schedule Jan. 14 at Corvallis (2-6).

North Marion 65, La Pine 51

The Huskies’ hot streak that began in the final game of the North Marion Holiday Tournament continued last week in a 14-point victory over the La Pine Hawks Friday night.

Kerry Cook led all scorers with 25 points to overcome the hot hand of Hawks guard Taylor Brown, who hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter.

Cook was joined by teammate Kyle Williamson, who scored 14. Brock Breshears added 11 points in the win, which was sealed with a 22-point effort for the Huskies in the third quarter.

North Marion (6-4) has now won four of its past five games. The win at La Pine (3-5) ties the team’s season-high and marks the team’s biggest margin of victory this year.

The Huskies continue their non-league schedule this week, starting with a game at Junction City (4-5) that was scheduled for Tuesday. The team will play Friday at Stayton (2-8) before returning home next week.

Gervais 41, Monroe 38

The Cougars survived a last-second 3-point attempt by Monroe that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead celebrated Gervais’ third straight victory.

Gervais (5-3) was led by Kylor Kelley’s 18 points, as the team built a 23-16 lead after two quarters that slowly eroded over the course of the second half.

Adam Jaramillo added eight points, and Austin Garcia scored five.

The Cougars’s current three-game streak is the first since a stretch of league games against Willamina, Sheridan and Colton in January of last season.

Gervais moves into their West Valley schedule for the remainder of the season, beginning with its league opener at Colton (5-5) that was scheduled for Tuesday.

The Cougars will then travel to Horizon Christian (5-5) Friday and Sheridan Monday (3-5).

Kennedy, Santiam - postponed

The Trojans’ game against Santiam was postponed due to problems with the scoreboard at Santiam High School.

Kennedy (5-4, 2-0 Tri-River) was scheduled to host Toledo (4-5, 1-1) on Tuesday before traveling to Culver (1-8, 0-2) Friday night.

The Trojans will play their game against Santiam (0-8, 0-2) Saturday.

St. Paul 55, City Christian 41

After beginning its campaign with five consecutive losses in December, the St. Paul High School basketball team couldn’t be happier that 2013 is in the rearview mirror.

The Bucks have turned that streak on its head so far in 2014, winning both games they’ve played this calendar year, including a 55-41 home victory over City Christian on Friday night.

“It was nice to get that December taste out of your mouth because it wasn’t good there for a little bit,” head coach Vince Drago said. “We’ve still got a ways to go, but we’re going in the right direction.”

St. Paul began the new year with a 38-31 victory over Condon/Wheeler on Friday and was more focused and energized, especially on defense and on the glass, versus the Lions.

“We got out and tried to generate and make things happen rather than just seeing if they will happen,” Drago said. “The energy level and our focus the last couple, three games has been good. That kind of fits in with the rebounding piece, too, if kids have energy and go for the ball.”

The Bucks held a slim 22-19 lead at halftime, but exploded for 21 points in the third quarter to pull ahead 43-30 and saw the game out from there.

Cody Southerland led the offense with 18 points and seven assists, while Joe Hiller and Cody Faber had excellent games on the interior, each recording a double-double. Hiller compiled 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Faber adding 10 points and 11 boards.

St. Paul will resume league play at home today versus Falls City before traveling to perennial league champion Country Christian on Friday.

“I think we have a little bit better mindset right now and the league is going to be pretty competitive,” Drago said. “There are a fair number of teams that are reasonably equal. It’s going to be an interesting six weeks.”

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