Lincoln looks to chill Grants PIL hot streak
With seven teams in the boys basketball title chase, there will be no shortage of important games on any given night in the Portland Interscholastic League.
Tonight, it's Grant at Lincoln.
Grant (7-3, 4-0 PIL) had five players score in double figures during a 73-67 victory over Wilson on Thursday. The Generals head into tonight's game as the lone unbeaten team in league play. First-year coach Tony Broadous says even he has been impressed with his team's start.
'We've got a deep team, and we're seeing the value of all the work we did in summer,' says Broadous, who coached at Roosevelt last year. 'And no one has a big head about our start. We know it's a long season, and there's a lot of big games ahead of us.'
Tonight's game will feature a battle of sophomore point guards, Dominic Waters of Grant and Omar Leary of Lincoln. With Waters leading the way, Grant averages a league-best 80 points per game. Leary hit the game-winning shot against Benson on Friday.
'The best thing about (tonight's) game is the rivalry between the two schools,' Broadous says. 'I learned about that back in football season, when everyone was looking forward to Week 8 (Grant at Lincoln).
'Grant wants to beat Lincoln in everything.'
The girls teams from those two schools meet at Grant tonight, too.
Leary's winning shot last week, a floating 8-footer, capped a tense game with the Techmen. Lincoln (6-4, 3-1) rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit. Leary and senior Neal Zumwalt had 17 points each for the Cardinals, who were involved in a last-second finish against Jefferson on Jan. 7.
'In these games, every possession is crucial, and we feel that on the court,' Zumwalt says. 'That's what it's like in the playoffs. This is getting us ready for that.'
Of the nine games involving the PIL's top seven teams (Grant, Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Benson, Cleveland and Wilson), five have been decided by six points or less, including two that went down to the final possession.
In other key games this week, Wilson is at Benson tonight, and Lincoln travels to face an improving Roosevelt on Thursday.
Roosevelt's Charles Woodruff finally delivered on some of the promise his height provides with a 10-point fourth quarter in a 75-68 victory over Jefferson on Friday. The 6-foot-10 senior led the 'Riders with 19 points. Injured 6-8 senior Jeffree Williams played and helped Roosevelt beat Jefferson's full-court press.
Jefferson's nonleague victory Saturday over Mt. Zion Academy of Durham, N.C., showcased how explosive the Democrats can be when they're motivated. Jefferson trailed by 15 points at halftime but outscored the Warriors by 22 in the second half and won 73-66.
The Democrats trailed Cleveland by 12 at the half Thursday but rallied to win 71-55. On Friday, Jefferson led Roosevelt by five at halftime, but the Demos were outscored 45-33 in the second half.
MORE BOYS HOOPS: In the Mount Hood Conference, Central Catholic is tied for the lead at 2-0 after Friday's 77-74 win at Centennial.
Jesuit fell out of the Metro League lead after a 56-44 loss Thursday to Southridge, which beat Grant to open its season. Jesuit and Southridge meet again Feb. 12 at Southridge.
Portland Christian and Portland Adventist will play Saturday in a key Northwest League basketball game that will affect the Class 2A state rankings.
GIRLS HOOPS: Wilson ran its unbeaten streak in PIL games to 24 with a 63-58 victory over Grant on Friday night. Jessie Shetters, who scored 24 points, has led the Trojans in scoring in all six league games this season.
Benson has hung around in the standings despite not having star junior Liddy Poindexter. Poindexter is practicing with the team and will be available when the Techsters meet Jefferson on Jan. 28. She'll be with the team for games against Lincoln, Grant and Wilson, too.
'Everyone is getting a lot of experience, and we're playing pretty well,' Benson coach Dennis Carline says. 'But we'll be a much better team when Liddy comes back.'
Benson plays host to Wilson on Wednesday and Franklin on Friday. Franklin is likely to be fired up for that game because it will be the Quakers' chance to sneak into the state playoff picture.
Central Catholic continues to roll in the Mount Hood League. The Rams are 5-0 after a 54-49 victory over Sandy in overtime Friday. The Rams have won their last 23 conference games.