Boys basketball: North Marion clinches state playoff berth
The North Marion boys basketball team turned back a challenge in Estacada for a 60-55 win Wednesday night to officially lock up a spot into the 4A state playoffs.
The game saw 10 leads changes before Sergio Jimenez got to the front of the rim to put the Huskies ahead for good 52-51 with 3:16 to play. Johnny Page added a free throw in the team's next possession, then Jared Hauser came up with the play of the night that denied Estacada a chance to get even.
He poked a ball loose, dived to the floor to secure it and alertly called for a timeout before a pack of white Estacada jerseys converged to tie him up.
"I saw their guard look away and it looked like an opportunity to swipe the ball," Hauser said. "I knew it would be a big play if we could snag it — we needed the ball."
The turnover became points on the offensive end when Jimenez took a jumper from the right side that clipped the side of the rim and tumbled over to make it a two-possession game.
"I practice a lot of those fadeaways, so I figured why not shoot it," Jimenez said. "I got a nice little roll and it gave our team a boost."
The Huskies maintained the upper hand down the stretch with a 3-pointer by Hauser, and the clinching shot from Grant Henry with 0:47 left.
"We knew we were up three, so we just had to make good decisions and find a layup to end the game," Henry said. "We were passing the ball around the perimeter, so the defense was out there chasing. Jared hit me with a great assist and it was wide open for me."
The Huskies host Gladstone at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, with the winner ending the night alone on top of the Tri-Valley standings.
North Marion started fast with Griffin Henry firing a cross-court pass to brother Grant, who shifted the ball with a one-timer into the corner where Brady Hansen buried an open 3. Moments later, it was Hansen making the extra pass to set up Grant Henry for a long ball that gave North Marion its biggest lead at 27-19 late in the first half.
The third quarter turned into a duel between the night's two leading scorers with Hauser and Estacada's Calvin Dryden going back-and-forth on four straight possessions.
Hauser received a pass in the post, spun toward the middle and lifted a shot to the rim where it rolled along the edge of the iron in slow motion before trickling through the net. Dryden drove through a crowd for two at the other end, and Hauser responded by beating his defender down the baseline and lifting a layup over the side of the rim.
"It's always fun to be part of something like that," Hauser said. "I was able to find some seams and get those baskets."
The opposing guards combined for 21 points in the quarter.
Dryden would get the last two in unlikely fashion when a teammate missed a 3 that was intended to be the final shot of the quarter. But Dryden soared up high and put the rebound off the glass and in before his feet touched the ground, beating the horn by the narrowest of margins to bring the Rangers within a point heading into the fourth quarter.
The Rangers pulled even at the five-minute mark when Dryden picked off a pass and beat three green jerseys to the hoop. Moments later, Estacada moved ahead 51-48 on a 3 by Cody Syring.
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N. MARION 19 11 16 14 — 60
ESTACADA 15 13 17 10 — 55
North Marion (60) — Jared Hauser 18, Sergio Jimenez 17, Grant Henry 14, Brady Hansen 6, Johnny Page 3, Griffin Henry 2, Nic Iliyn 2, Garcia.
Estacada (55) — Calvin Dryden 29, Cody Syring 11, Nick Keller 8, Domingo Tellis 5, Nathan Hagel 1, Schaffer.