#10 Boys Basketball Team Looks To Improve Current League Record

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#10 Boys Basketball Team Looks To Improve Current League Record

The Falcons in action in the brick oven on Dec. 7, 2018 against Black Hills.

The Falcons in action in the brick oven on Dec. 7, 2018 against Black Hills.

Emily Hawkins

The Falcons in action in the brick oven on Dec. 7, 2018 against Black Hills.

Emily Hawkins

Emily Hawkins

The Falcons in action in the brick oven on Dec. 7, 2018 against Black Hills.

Samantha Kar, Editor

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More than halfway into the season, and with only eleven league games now remaining, the #10 varsity boys basketball team has achieved an overall record of 7-7 and a league record of 0-3.

Over winter break, the team traveled to tournaments in Coos Bay and Salem. In Coos Bay, the boys took home the championship, which was “a really good way to start the season,” senior captain Alex Boyd said. “As a team, I feel like we played out of ourselves. There wasn’t a lot of selfishness.”

Senior Rudy Massaad added, “[The tournament] definitely bumped up our chemistry, and we learned how to play with each other.”

In Salem, the boys went 2-2, losing to Cleveland and Centennial from Corona, CA, now the 13th nationally ranked team in the country.

The 26-68 loss to Centennial “kind of stopped our momentum a little bit,” Boyd said. “We got a wake-up call in having to play hard consistently… it doesn’t really matter who’s on the other side of the court… you have to bring your A-game.”

“[Playing Centennial] really tested our adversity and how we could fight through games that usually don’t go our way,” Massaad said.

(Check out this article for more details on the action that occurred over winter break.)

Comprised of six seniors, one junior, and four sophomores, the team is fairly young, and also does not assign positions to players. Being positionless is an aspect that sets La Salle’s team apart from other schools.

Head coach Sean Christensen mentions the senior team managers, Ethan Khal and Jake Bunker, “who motivate and inspire the team at practices and games.”

This allows for “a heavy motion offense with a lot of different actions,” Boyd said. “I think we mesh together pretty well, [which is] another thing about positionless basketball, that you can put in different lineups and you’ll pretty much always have somebody who can do whatever job you need them to do.”

Since the start of the regular season, the boys have been defeated in all three games against #6 Parkrose, #8 Putnam, and #2 Wilsonville.

On these games, Christensen said, “We competed but fell short. We did not shoot the ball particularly well and didn’t take advantage of some opportunities.”

Since La Salle moved up to the 5A classification in the 2014-15 school year, the boys basketball team has never defeated Wilsonville. Going into playing the Wildcats this past Tuesday, both Boyd and Massaad expressed eagerness to reach the goal of finally defeating the team, but they ultimately fell short 44-77.

Senior Justin North said, “Wilsonville is ranked [#2] in the state for a reason and we didn’t come out ready to compete with them. Their defense really bothered us and we let it really affect our offensive flow. When the bench guys came in, they did a much better job than the starters of having energy.”

Christensen says the team has great potential but isn’t currently living up to their abilities. “We like to hang our hat on defense but we have been giving up too many points. Too many points in the paints and second chance points for the opponent doesn’t equate to a whole lot of winning,” Christensen said. “We have some great shooters which would be our strength but shots haven’t been falling the last few games.”

Despite their current record, the boys strive to maintain a mentality of “don’t quit, can’t fail,” Boyd said.

In terms of ways to improve, Boyd said, “We can work on defending as a team, remembering to stay in front of your man, and also trust[ing] that your teammate has your back.”

Christensen looks ahead to the players “improv[ing] on the defensive end. Seniors are looking at the last handful of games in high school and looking forward to how they respond to the adversity they have experienced early in league play.”

Massaad said the team should work on “definitely being more assertive, [and] trying to dictate the game from the first quarter and not wait until the second half, because that’s basically been a pattern all season.”

The team has their sights set on making it to Gill, ultimately competing for a state championship. During Boyd’s sophomore year, the team played in the semifinals. “It’s always been a personal goal to exceed that and take it to the next level by making it to the finals,” he said.

Massaad thinks the team should “stay confident.” 

“Sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves and think of that big goal [of winning the 5A state title], but we have to go through these certain teams and steps to get there. We have to take it one game at a time,” Massaad said.

The boys play next this Friday, Jan. 18 at home versus Milwaukie at 7:15 p.m.