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Coach uses history lesson to soothe overtime sting
Roosevelt boys basketball coach Terry Bennett taught a little history after the Roughriders' 65-61 loss to -No. 3 Grant in overtime Tuesday night. Bennett told his players about Douglas MacArthur and the importance of winning tough battles.
'MacArthur lost the Philippines during World War II, but he got them back and won the Pacific, too,' Bennett told his players after the particularly tough Portland Interscholastic League defeat. 'He won because he didn't accept moral victories.
'We played well tonight, and we might consider this some kind of win just taking Grant to overtime. But there are no moral victories. We have to get over that hump if we want to get to the state playoffs.'
Roosevelt, which rode the 15 points of senior Andre Ferguson, led by as many as 10 points in the first half, when Grant looked mostly unmotivated.
'We had them, but our rotation is just too small,' Ferguson said. 'We got tired.'
Ferguson was outstanding for much of the game, especially in the first half, when he had three blocked shots and dunked a lob pass as the Roughriders built a 19-9 lead.
Grant, which got scoring from eight players (two more than Roosevelt), rallied to take and then retake the lead in the second half. The Generals scored the first 10 points of overtime.
'We've got to come out with a lot more fire at the start of a game than we did here,' Grant coach Tony Broadous said after his team improved to 9-0. 'That first half was as poor as we've played this season.'
Donnie Harrison-Davis scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half for Grant.
The Generals will play Los Angeles power Westchester in the Martin Luther King Invitational on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Chiles Center,
Bennett's MacArthur reference would have also been useful at Wilson after the underdog Trojans' 63-62 homecourt loss to No. 7 Lincoln. Wilson, also struggling to be a playoff contender, had a 17-4 run in the third quarter against the defending PIL champs.
'Wilson's very good,' Lincoln coach Jeff Bair said. 'And people might have some inflated expectations for Lincoln this year. This league is too tough for any team to go into every gym and blow people out every night.'
The depth of talent in the PIL is considerable. Already, as many as 20 players have emerged as quality candidates for the all-league team.
The Grant-Roosevelt game drew two assistant coaches from Portland State athletic teams, Steve Gosar from men's basketball and Tony Cichoke from football. Cichoke was on hand to keep tabs on two-sport guys Ñ he said those athletes are more attractive to coaches.
Both assistants said the Vikings can be a tough sell to high school recruits simply because the shadow of both Oregon and Oregon State covers the Portland area so well.
'A lot of kids see walking on at Oregon or Oregon State as equal to getting a scholarship at Portland State,' said Cichoke, a former assistant at Central Catholic. 'We're working hard to change that, but it's going to take some time.'
Of the 16 men's basketball players at PSU, only three are from Oregon. Of 100 football players listed in the Viking media guide last fall, 31 were from Oregon high schools. Cichoke said the Viking coaches are keen on improving the numbers and getting results with area players.
'Our dream at PSU is to win a national championship with mostly Oregon and Washington players,' Cichoke said. 'Montana can win with mostly Montana players; we should be able to do that here, too.
'It just takes getting one more in-state player every year.'
Saturday's MLK Invitational at the Chiles Center is loaded with ranked teams. Barlow takes on Benson in a boys game at 11:30 a.m. Jefferson's boys meet Washington's Mount Tahoma High at 12:45 p.m. Jesuit's girls face Jefferson at 2 p.m., and Grant's boys play Westchester of Los Angeles at 3:15 p.m. Grant is ranked No. 4 and Jefferson No. 7 in Oregon, while Mount Tahoma is No. 3 in Washington's Class 4A. Westchester is No. 8 in the most recent USA Today national poll. In the girls' rankings, Jesuit is No. 3 and Jefferson No. 9. The tournament is being played in the afternoon because the University of Portland has a home men's game with San Francisco at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Former La Salle soccer standout Ryan Cochrane was in Los Angeles earlier this week for the Major League Soccer combine in preparation for today's MLS draft. Cochrane, who played at Santa Clara, is one of three players with Oregon connections who took part in the combine and are likely selections for the 10-team league. Eric Cronkrite, who played at Corvallis High and UP, and Alan Gordan, who played at Oregon State, also were at the combine.