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From fettuccine to fast breaks

Franklin girls coach and ex-chef Floyd Hall finds a recipe for success

Running a basketball program is a lot like running a kitchen, and Floyd Hall should know.- Hall, the girls coach at Franklin High, is a certified chef, having graduated from the Western Culinary Institute after getting his diploma from Jefferson High.

Hall no longer works as a chef. Instead, he's mixing the individual ingredients of a team, and the Franklin program is thriving.

The Quakers, chasing their first state playoff berth in 11 years, started the PIL season with three straight wins. On Friday they nearly beat Grant, a team they were 0-2 against last season, losing to the Generals by an average of 33 points.

'Things are really starting to come together here,' says Hall, who is in his second season at Franklin. 'We're getting used to playing an uptempo game. We just need to keep practicing hard and playing hard, and we'll get better.

'I think it's been a while since this program had this kind of excitement, and it's fun to see.'

During the past decade, Franklin has quietly fit into sixth place in the PIL, generally finishing 8-10. That's two losses to each of the top five teams Ñ Benson, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln and Wilson Ñ and two wins over the remaining four Ñ Cleveland, Madison, Marshall and Roosevelt.

Things already have changed, as the Quakers (5-2 overall, 3-1 PIL) beat two-time defending league champion Wilson 51-43 on Dec. 11 and lost to high-powered Grant 78-75 in overtime Friday. A boisterous group of Franklin students showed up for the Grant game Ñ as many as 60 of them stood and cheered throughout the overtime.

Franklin plays host to league title contender Lincoln on Jan. 6 and plays at league-leader Jefferson on Jan. 9.

'We have some excitement in our program, something we haven't had in some time,' says 6-foot junior center Amanda Peterson. 'And that's because of Coach Hall. He's the best coach I've played for.

'If he weren't here, I wouldn't be here.'

'We wanted him'

Hall, who says he excelled at making fettuccine during his days as a chef, worked his way into coaching as a dad. His son, Marquis, is a sophomore at Jefferson and plays on the Democrats' varsity.

Hall started as an assistant on his son's third-grade basketball team. That team became known as 2real and at various times included what is now some of the top prep talent in Portland Ñ Corey Allen of Central Catholic, Lathen Wallace of Jefferson, Seth Tarver of Jesuit and Ian Anderson of Wilson, among others. The 2real team played in numerous national tournaments, frequently reaching the championship game.

Floyd Hall, 35, says working with coaches such as Reggie Guyton, Tony Hampton, Canaan Chatman and Jefferson coach Marshall Haskins helped him develop the fast-paced style that most boys teams play. In most years, 2real played more than 100 games a season.

Hall became the coach at Franklin primarily because the girls recruited him.

He started guiding a few girls several years ago during informal workouts at the Southeast Portland gym where 2real practiced. The bond between coach and team grew from that. He credits former Franklin player Alicia Scoggin with starting the drive to recruit him.

Franklin's players ultimately called Hall, and even sent faxes, on a daily basis, until Hall relented and applied for the job in the spring of 2002.

'Then we went to the school administration and lobbied them, too,' Peterson says. 'We wanted him as our coach.'

Last season, Hall focused on the fundamentals of the fast break. Friday's game with Grant showcased the Quakers' potential. Franklin is scoring a respectable 55 points per game and heads into games Friday and Saturday against schools from Seattle as a contender to place at least fourth in the PIL and go to the state playoffs.

Even better, the Franklin players exhibit the skills that state title contenders possess Ñ the ability to drive to the basket and score while being fouled, aggressive offensive rebounding, solid defensive rebounding, good free-throw shooting and competent ball handling.

'We have the ingredients here,' Hall says. 'It's just a matter of playing a lot more games this way and playing more games under pressure situations.'