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Grants season is no gimme

PREP WATCH: Basketball teams are a winter home for many footballers
by: JAIME VALDEZ, Lincoln’s Sean Uetz blocks Tigard’s Josh Harbolt’s shot in a nonleaugue game Tuesday night. Lincoln won 65-50.

Grant is the PIL 6A boys basketball favorite, but the Generals won't be able to take any nights off this season.

Lincoln, under new coach David Adelman, is making noise already. Benson lost some players, but coach Troy Berry figures to have the Techmen in contention again. Franklin, with Benson transfer Sean Brownhill, and Wilson are expected to be scrappy.

In nonleague play, Grant awaits a first-round matchup with powerful Wheeler of Marietta, Ga., in the Dec. 27 through Dec. 30 Les Schwab Invitational at Liberty High in Hillsboro, as well as the season's only meeting with PIL 5A power Jefferson.

The Generals and Demos will play in the second half of a Rose Garden doubleheader that makes up the Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Invitational.

'We know it's going to be tough every night,' Grant coach Tony Broadous says.

• The Generals got off to a great start last week, winning at Canby 82-77 in overtime. Canby's 6-11 Clint Chapman, who is headed for Texas, scored 32 points, but in the final three minutes the Generals sagged enough on defense that they forced Canby's guards to take shots instead of feeding Chapman.

Grant point guard Paul McCoy scored 23 points to lead four Generals in double figures.

'We have the potential to be pretty good,' Broadous says. 'It just depends on how hard we work and how well we close out games. We were pretty young last year and didn't always finish strong.'

• McCoy, a 6-1 junior coming off an outstanding football season, is one of four returning starters. Broadous says Nevada-Las Vegas, Portland State, Oregon State and Portland have been the schools calling the most as they recruit McCoy for basketball.

'In football, Paul has a chance to be really good, but in basketball, he's special,' Broadous says.

The other returning starters are 6-7 sophomore Mike Moser, 6-0 senior Greg Bogdan and 6-5 junior Melvin Jenkins, who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered in Grant's football quarterfinal loss to Lake Oswego.

Mike James, a 6-0 junior guard, scored 20 points at Canby. Brandon Jones, a 6-0 senior guard, added 15 points. Joe Hagen, a 6-4 senior forward who has been starting, chipped in 11.

• Lincoln is 2-1 going into tonight's game at highly ranked Westview. The Cardinals opened with a 70-55 win at South Eugene, then hung close to No. 1-ranked Lake Oswego before losing 60-49 and beat Tigard 65-50 on Tuesday.

Adelman has eight football players in his rotation, including QB Connor Kavanaugh and PIL sprint champion/receiver Jordan Polk in the starting backcourt. 'Jordan didn't play basketball last year, but he's incredible defensively,' Adelman says. 'Playing him at the point allows Connor to be more free at the 2.'

Receiver Eric McConachie starts at small forward. 'He's about as good a defender as I've coached,' says Adelman, a former assistant at Jesuit. Defensive lineman Kevin Reynolds and Warren King are the starting big men, although they play more like wings in Lincoln's uptempo attack.

• Adelman, the 25-year-old son of former Blazer coach Rick Adelman, is working toward his teaching certificate; he wants to teach U.S. history at Lincoln. 'I think it's really important for me as the coach to be in the building,' he says.

• Southridge, home of the state champion girls basketball team, will be the site of the first annual Nike Northwest Invitational from Dec. 21 through Dec. 23.

First-day play has Villa Park (Calif.) versus Central Catholic at 2 p.m., teams from Sacramento and Lincoln, Wash., meeting at 3:45 p.m., Auburn Riverside of Washington facing Beaverton at 5:30 p.m., and Benson taking on Southridge at 7:15 p.m.

• It took Wilson's Mike Clopton a long time to receive his award as the National High School Baseball Coaches Association's District 8 coach of the year - and we're not talking all the years he has been with the Trojans.

A snowstorm made Clopton's trek to St. Louis last week a 50-hour ordeal full of canceled flights and a 15-hour train trip (normally five hours) from Kansas City to St. Louis. Clopton had tickets to a St. Louis Blues hockey game but missed it.

He'll get one other national award, from the American Baseball Coaches Association, running Jan. 3 through Jan. 7 in Orlando. That trip should be more pleasant.