Grant shoots for elite status in PIL
With Jefferson, Benson and Lincoln ranked in the top four in the state in boys basketball, Grant figured to be one of the teams duking it out for fourth place in the Portland Interscholastic League before the regular season started last week.
But after two wins, including a 73-68 victory over Benson, the Generals look like another title contender in what is shaping up to be a stellar league.
'We feel like we can compete with anyone in the league,' coach Tony Broadous said Sunday. 'I don't know if people were expecting that from us.'
John Cavalli, a senior guard who transferred from Beaverton, tossed in 28 points in the win over Benson, which followed a win over Franklin last Tuesday.
Grant also features senior Sam Mowe, juniors Donnie Harrison-Davis and Aaron Dickson and sophomore point guard Dominic Waters.
Broadous, who coached at Roosevelt last year, said Dickson's play could carry the team in the coming weeks.
'He's shaking off that football rust,' Broadous said. 'He's going to be very exciting as the season goes on.'
Grant (4-2) plays Centennial on Friday in the first round of the Grant tournament. McNary and Battle Ground, Wash., play in the other game.
MORE GRANT: The Generals' girls basketball team scored an equally impressive win over Benson on Friday, cruising to a 72-61 victory behind a 42-point outburst by senior guard Cicely Oaks.
Oaks, who attempted 35 shots in the game, actually struggled with her shooting, making just 7 of 23 shots at one point. But then she hit six straight three-point shots as Grant, which was playing without normal starters Amy Chamberlain and Ericka Volker, broke free of a 34-all tie.
'My coach challenged me to lead, and I have to score to do that,' Oaks said. 'And I can't score if I don't shoot.'
Grant coach Margaret Calvert was happy with Oaks' performance, especially in areas outside of scoring.
'She rebounded, defended, set up other players for shots, so it wasn't just the scoring,' Calvert said. 'And she played all 32 minutes.'
Grant (5-2, 4-0 PIL) doesn't play again until Jan. 3, when it's at home against Beaverton.
EAGLES START FAST: Centennial's girls team is off to a 2-1 start in Mount Hood Conference play under first-year coach Jared Curtiss, who moved over after two years at Portland Lutheran.
The Eagles are getting solid play from a pair of sophomore centers, Kim Barron and Joslyn Gress. Barron, who is 6-foot-1, averages 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Gress averages five steals per game.
Curtiss said his players were inspired to prove the conference's coaches wrong for picking them to finish in eighth place. Curtiss thinks his team is capable of beating defending conference champion Central Catholic.
'Central Catholic is very good but not quite like last year,' he said. 'We can handle them if we play well.'
Centennial will play in the eight-team South Eugene tournament Friday and Saturday. The Eagles play two games Friday in the unique tournament.
Lincoln's boys team returned to Portland after four games in Hawaii, where the Cardinals held their own against an international field. Lincoln finished 1-3 in the tourney. Aaron Brooks of Seattle's Franklin High, who is headed for the University of Oregon, led his school to the title game, where it lost to Fairfax of Los Angeles.
By the way, here's a vote for the Les Schwab Invitational to stop bringing in nationally ranked teams. They simply don't draw a crowd. Why not attract teams from Vancouver, Wash., and Seattle? How about a good Oregon Class 3A team? The Schwab tourney is boring, and the attendance figures show that.
Portland Christian's girls basketball team, ranked No. 7 in the state, will have a pretty good idea of where it sits in relationship to the rest of the state as the season progresses. No. 2 Knappa is also in the Northwest League. Those teams play Jan. 24.
PIL: The Oregon Sports Authority Foundation has earmarked $100,000 toward saving the PIL spring sports season and finding a long-term solution. Drew Mahalic, chief executive officer of the sports authority, said $25,000 of the funds would be spent on long-term solutions to funding for athletics.
None of the foundation representatives at a Friday news conference volunteered any ideas as to what those long-term solutions might be.
Most likely, it will be some sort of new regional fee that might be added to transactions such as movie rentals. Salem's City Council recently approved a similar fee, with money going toward middle school athletics and after-school programs.
The long-term funding plan is likely to be needed in about nine months because as bad as the financial picture is for this school year, it's likely to be even worse next year when the district doesn't have the option to cut so many school days to save money.