WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: St. Helens boys' basketball stays perfect at home
Jacob Falk's last-minute breakaway dunk Tuesday finished Milwaukie in a fourth-quarter flurry.
St. Helens beat the Mustangs for the third time in a row, 76-64, and is perfect in seven home games, its best such start since opening 5-2 in friendly confines in 2008-09.
"Milwaukie came out confident and tried to turn us over, but in the end we played patient enough to hold them off," Lions coach Jordan Massinger said.
With their next win, St. Helens (8-6 overall, 2-2 Northwest Oregon Conference) will have won as many games as it did in the last three years as they rival their 14-11, 8-6 Class 5A play-in run record from 2012-13.
"It's awesome," Lions senior guard Drake Dow said. "I love the atmosphere the students and the community bring to every game."
St. Helens can start its second three-game win streak in the last month if it beats Sandy (4-10, 1-3) on the road, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday.
"[Sandy] will be a tough matchup as usual because they will be well-coached and well-prepared," Massinger said. "We need to play great team defense for 32 minutes and play as hard as we can. As long as we do that, we should give ourselves a chance for success."
The Pioneers have beaten the Lions three times in a row by an average of 18 points but score and allow 56 and 67 respective points this season while St. Helens puts up and gives up 65 and 64.
The Lions outscore adversaries 84-69 in their gym but surrender a 59-52 average in their 1-6 road stretch.
Milwaukie senior guard Dylan Stradley proved a swiss army knife Tuesday in leading his Mustangs (5-9, 0-4) with 22 points and kept them close.
Milwaukie coach Don Law earned a technical foul for too vigorously arguing a foul call as Falk made a pair of free throws and Joe Rea hit both technical free throws, but Stradley swished a 3-pointer from the deep left shoulder, finished a three-point play and kept his side close at the half, 41-32.
Senior wing Aaron Talley sank a triple from the top with a shooter's sway and forced a St. Helens timeout at 49-43 in the third quarter, and junior post Dustin Stradley's shot fake and three-point play shrank the Lions' lead to 51-50.
Dow drew a pair of free throws on a shot from the charity stripe with .3 left in the third, however, made good on both and St. Helens stayed ahead 53-50 into the fourth.
Falk muscled up in the paint between Dylan Stradley and senior post Marcel Nemarundwe for a 69-59 lead inside of two minutes left, and the Mustangs could not recover.
Falk, Dow and Rea sparked the Lions with 27, 22 and 14 respective points as St. Helens made 17 of 22 free throws to Milwaukie's 7-for-12.
"Jacob Falk [also had] 12 rebounds and hit all three of his free throw attempts to dominate yet another game down low," Massinger said. "He is really starting to see how easy he makes it look when the effort is there. As always, I can't wait to see what happens when he figures out what a force he can be on defense, too. Drake Dow had his highest-scoring game of the season. As usual, his poise under pressure allows us to do what we need to do to take care of business. He is improving on the defensive end every night as well. That has been a spark for us during these tough league games. Joe Rea knocked down all six of his free throw attempts. We knew it was only a matter of time until he had a great game for us."
Owen Wolfe's seven points and career-highs in assists (nine) and rebounds (16) streamlined the Lions' high-low offense.
"He was eyeing that triple double for sure," Massinger said. "This just highlights the huge role he plays in setting Jacob up for the score down low. When both bigs are playing well, it's pretty tough to stop."
Talley's 21 points helped the Mustangs, but St. Helens got away with a 23-14 fourth-quarter run.
"We ask [Trenton Minich] to guard the best player on the team every night, and he does a great job not allowing him to do what he wants," Massinger said. "We need that every night."
The Lions rolled into Tuesday after beating Parkrose (4-9, 3-1) for the first time in their varsity careers at home Jan. 12.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward's career-high 37 points -- which Massinger declared the best individual performance in five years -- and 14 rebounds helped his side erase a 12-point halftime deficit in a 76-70 win.
"I have to give Parkrose credit, that team came out with energy, effort and enthusiasm," Massinger said. "That team is going to make it tough for their opponents every night."
The Lions got the better of the Broncos for the first time since their 57-38 win Feb. 23, 2013, in Portland.
Falk scored 23 second-half points as he and 6-foot-7 Owen Wolfe cleaned the glass and kept Parkrose on its heels.
"If they're going to have two big guys, you gotta run [to beat them to the basket]," Broncos coach Donell Morgan said.
Parkrose freshman Damontae Burns nailed five first-half 3-pointers and senior Leyson Farmer hit three before intermission but went silent from deep thereafter.
St. Helens fed Falk in the paint in the third and, though Burns slashed for layups, Dow pushed the ball up the floor and willed the Lions to trail 54-52 into the fourth on the way to 19 points in all.
St. Helens led 62-56 with 3:30 left and, with 18 second-half free throws -- as it made 24 of 33 free throws to Parkrose's 6-of-14 -- kept the Broncos off-balance.
Burns' layup brought his team back to within four, but Dow answered and the Lions stayed ahead 71-65 with a minute left.
Junior Solomon Campbell's putback kept Parkrose within four at 71-67 with 39.5 seconds to play, but Trenton Minich and Wolfe both made a pair of free throws and inflated the lead to 75-67 with 27 seconds.
"[Wolfe's] defense in the paint allowed us to cause many key turnovers down the stretch," Massinger said.
Broncos senior Justin Tran landed a layup and a point-after to trail 75-60 at 25 seconds, but Dow split a pair from the line.
Burns, Farmer and Tran scored 23, 17 and 10 respective points in all.
ST. HELENS 76, PARKROSE 70
Friday, Jan. 12, in St. Helens
P 22 21 11 16 -- 70
SH 13 18 21 24 -- 76
PARKROSE (4-9, 3-1) -- Damontae Burns 23, Leyson Farmer 17, Justin Tran 10, Isamu Chang 6, Solomon Campbell 6, Tre Anderson 6, Jason Davis 2, Shawn Briggs 1. 3-point goals -- 9 (Burns 5, Farmer 3, Chang). Total fouls -- 22. Fouled out -- Tran. Totals 28 6-14 70.
ST. HELENS (8-6, 2-2) -- Jacob Falk 37, Drake Dow 19, Joe Rea 8, Owen Wolfe 8, Trenton Minich 4. 3-point goals -- 4 (Dow 2, Rea 2). Total fouls -- 16. Totals 24 24-33 76.
ST. HELENS 76, MILWAUKIE 64
Tuesday in St. Helens
M 15 17 18 14 -- 64
SH 17 24 12 23 -- 76
MILWAUKIE (5-9, 0-4) -- Dylan Stradley 22, Aaron Talley 21, Dustin Stradley 7, Marcel Nemarundwe 5, Kaid Vickers 4, Adrian Gama 2, Jimmy Lumanglas 2, Keshawn Myles 1. 3-point goals -- 7 (Talley 3, Dylan Stradley 3, Nemarundwe). Total fouls -- 17. Totals 25 7-12 64.
ST. HELENS (8-6, 2-2) -- Jacob Falk 27, Drake Dow 22, Joe Rea 14, Owen Wolfe 7, Trenton Minich 4, Chris Beatty 2. 3-point goals -- 5 (Dow 2, Rea 2, Minich). Total fouls -- 16. Totals 27 17-22 76.