Grant finds its mojo in loss
- Cliff Pfenning
- Portland Tribune - Sports
• Benson sails past Grant in MLK tourney
Grant didn't win its game against the top team on the West Coast, but the Generals played well Saturday and appear to have shaken off the effects of a tough week.
In short, they got their mojo back.
'Yeah, I think that's what happened,' junior point guard Dominic Waters said after a 52-35 loss to Westchester of Los Angeles. 'This was a big game, and we needed to step up and we did. I know I really stepped up.'
Waters had three straight baskets and doled out two assists in a stretch that helped the Generals pull within 32-29 in the third quarter against Westchester, ranked No. 8 in the nation.
The Comets, California's defending state champion in Division I, the state's highest level, then pulled away in the final game of the Martin Luther King Invitational at the Chiles Center.
Grant, which entered the game ranked No. 3 in Oregon, lost to Benson 56-45 on Thursday and nearly lost to Roosevelt in its previous game. Waters, who scored a team-high 17 points against Westchester, says he is fully recovered from his appendectomy three weeks ago.
Grant plays at Lincoln on Thursday and at Jefferson on Friday.
More boys hoops
MLK tournament host Jefferson scored an impressive 67-55 win Saturday over Mount Tahoma, Washington's third-ranked team.
Jefferson gave up a 15-2 run in the first half and had trouble getting back on defense at times, but when the Demos got their full-court-hustle game in gear they scored quickly, and their zone defense was so impenetrable that it seemed they had six men on the court. Jefferson showed resolve, especially against a team of the caliber of Tacoma's Mount Tahoma, which has two college recruits.
Jefferson's 6-8 Brian Morris continued to show his potential, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The junior become a central figure for the Demos and could be the school's next major college recruit even though he only has played team basketball since the eighth grade.
Morris sees his role on the team as a basic one.
'I'm the garbageman,' he says. 'I just try to clean up whatever messes there are on the court.'
Morris' skills are blossoming to the point where he's being pressured to be more aggressive.
'Yeah, my coaches want me to do more and be more selfish,' he says. 'But I don't know if I'm ready for that.'
Barlow's 69-61 win over Benson on Saturday put the Bruins on the map as a team to reckon with. Senior guard Nick Klinger scored 18 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for Barlow. He hit four 3-pointers in the quarter.
'Hopefully this win gets us some respect around the state,' says Barlow junior Jordan Schmidt, who sank 11 of 12 free throws. 'We're focused on winning our league, and we think we have the team chemistry to do that. And the state seems to be really level this year, so É'
Barlow plays at Mount Hood Conference rival Central Catholic on Friday.
The loss was another mild setback for Benson, which beat Lake Oswego, a top-10 team, in December, but then went 0-3 at the Les Schwab Invitational.
Benson's defense Thursday helped humble Grant.
'That was a glimpse of how good we can be,' Tech senior Thomas Tillery says. 'We think if we put it all together we can be a contender for the state title.'
Jefferson took a step forward in its goal to be the state's best team outside of Oregon City by beating No. 2 Jesuit 58-56 Saturday at Chiles Center. Junior Daraysha Kennedy made a layup at the final buzzer to win the game.
'That was a big win, one we needed to secure that we're No. 2,' Kennedy says. 'We had a big talk before the game about being pumped up at the start, and that really helped us.
'We've been trying to get to the Chiles Center for a few years, so that helped us play well, too.'
Jefferson was one win away from reaching the state tournament the past two seasons.
Jesuit's 6-1 Bronwyn Evans finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and demonstrated why she is a solid candidate for state player of the year. The Crusader senior made two of three 3-point shots, scored on a number of drives to the basket and also made all six of her free throws.
Tualatin senior Natalie Budge is headed for Los Angeles this weekend as part of the U.S. Olympic development program. She'll play for the West team in the under-19 tournament. Budge, a forward, is the lone Oregon player.