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Packed house sees Cardinals win big Teaser head (cover): Lincoln has reason to celebrate

PIL-leading Lincoln puts on its best season in almost four decades

The biggest boys basketball game at Lincoln High in at least four decades brought out a terrific game from the Cardinals.

Lincoln's 63-53 win over Jefferson on Friday gave it a commanding lead in the PIL.

Lincoln rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit before a crowd that had to collectively inhale to make room for fans to watch without standing on the court.

The Cardinals, who have reached the state tournament just once since 1966, have a two-game lead over Jefferson and Grant. Lincoln (14-4, 11-1 PIL) plays at Marshall tonight and at Grant (12-6, 9-3) on Friday.

'It felt great to play in front of so many people,' said Lincoln senior Neal Zumwalt, who has been on the varsity squad for four years. 'I can't believe where we are. It feels good to be No. 1 in the league.

'But we're still on a rise, we're still going up with our play. We have to keep our minds on each game as they come and not let up for the rest of the season because we have bigger goals than the league title.'

Zumwalt's 19 points led all scorers against Jefferson. Lincoln also got 14 points from sophomore Omar Leary, 12 from junior Mark Robinowitz and 11 from sophomore Latravis Turner.

Senior center Terrance Twotwo had 16 points, and sophomore Mac Hopson added 12 to lead Jefferson. Jeff played without senior guard Thomas Gardner. Gardner missed a class during the school day, a violation of the league's attendance policy for student-athletes.

Gardner's replacement in the starting lineup, senior Juma Whatley, scored five of Jefferson's first nine points. The Demos didn't commit a turnover until the second quarter and led 29-18 with 2:05 left in the first half.

The heated atmosphere seemed to inspire the Cardinals in the second half. Turner scored all of his 11 points in the final 10 minutes. Robinowitz did all of his scoring in the fourth quarter, picking up 12 points and hitting all three of his 3-point shots.

'I was open, and I'm a shooter,' Robinowitz said. 'I think I could have hit five more if I had gotten the ball more.'

Lincoln scored on 12 of its 14 fourth-quarter possessions.

Jefferson's coaches and players declined to comment after the game.

Jefferson (12-6, 9-3) plays at Cleveland (7-9, 6-6) tonight. In other key games this week, Benson (14-4, 8-4) is at home against Roosevelt (9-9, 7-5) tonight in a battle for fourth place. Benson is one game ahead of the Roughriders, who lost to the Techmen 66-49 in their first meeting.

MOUNT HOOD boys: Central Catholic jumped to a 42-21 halftime lead on the way to a 64-52 victory last week over Centennial. The win put the Rams back into the Mount Hood Conference title picture. Central's previous four games, three of them losses, were decided by a combined 12 points.

Parkrose moved back to within two games of a state playoff spot with a key, 66-65 victory over Reynolds, which is in fourth place. Parkrose plays at conference-leader Barlow on Wednesday. The Broncos edged Barlow 80-78 in their first meeting.

GIRLS HOOPS: Wilson (14-5, 13-1) got a big lift from neighborhood rival Lincoln last week, when the Cardinals beat Jefferson 57-48. The Demos (18-2, 12-2) fell a game behind Wilson in the battle for the PIL title.

Jefferson struggled to contain Lincoln's 5-9 freshman forward, Lauren Greif, who scored 29 points.

Grant (13-7, 11-3) plays a key stretch of games beginning tonight against Wilson in the Grant gym. The Generals play at Lincoln (13-5, 11-3) on Thursday.

Central Catholic's spot atop the Mount Hood Conference will be in focus this week. The Rams play host to Sandy tonight and will be at St. Mary's on Thursday. Sandy and St. Mary's are tied for second, two games behind the Rams.

FUNDING: Student leaders from throughout the Portland Interscholastic League gave a mixed performance at a news conference Thursday at Cleveland in support of their drive to raise money for spring sports.

The effort culminates with a walkathon Saturday at the Rose Quarter.

Students took turns explaining their fears about losing athletics next year and talked about how easy it would be to transfer, which many are considering.

Grant junior Scott Wall, the leading contender to win the PIL cross country championship next fall, said he already has begun the application process to transfer to Central Catholic.

Franklin junior Danny Vanvoorhis said that while he is trying to raise money so the Quakers can contend for their second football title in three years, his mind is also on transferring, to neighboring Milwaukie.

'I'll just go there and give them an address that's in their district,' he said, alluding to the OSAA transfer policy that requires athletes to live in the district in which they play. 'I want to play for Franklin, but there's no guarantee there's going to be a season.'

A troubling aspect of the fund-raising drive is the nature of some of the large donations, which have strings attached to them.

The PIL's news release indicates that the students 'must' raise $75,000 to secure an additional $250,000. That $250,000 includes the matching gifts of $75,000 each from the Oregon Sports Authority and Andrew Wiederhorn. The OSA donation originally had the caveat that it wouldn't kick in until the district had funds to save all spring sports at all levels.

PIL Athletic Director Greg Ross said he understood both the OSA and Wiederhorn donations to be matching donations, so that if students raised $50,000 from the walkathon, that would turn into $100,000 from those two sources.

The walkathon begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..