by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Grant's Dylan Leonard goes for a rebound between Lincoln's Tim Graham (left) and Matt Peeler (right).With 33 seconds remaining Friday night, Lincoln had cut Grant’s lead to 56-54.

When the Generals inbounded the ball, the Cardinals tried to foul to put Grant on the line. But Grant wing Dylan Leonard slipped away from his defender and received a pass at the Lincoln 3-point line. With no one in front of him, Leonard streaked down the court, then threwing down a dunk to all but ice the game.

Two Grant free throws later, the Generals had a 60-54 homecourt win over their Class 6A Portland Interscholastic League rival and had snapped a nine-game losing streak.

“My teammate saw me going, and from there, we both knew it was a dunk,” said Leonard, a 6-4 senior wing. “It felt great. It’s not my first dunk on the season, so it isn’t something I’m not used to. But a dunk always feels great. It always lights up the crowd. It lights up the team.”

Leonard led all scorers with 20 points, and he added 10 rebounds.

“My teammates were getting me the ball in a place where I was able to be successful," he said. "I had a smaller guy guarding me the entire game, so (the Generals) were trying to get me on the block. I was turning and fading, shooting jump shots over my defender, and attacking the basket.”

Leonard got help from 6-6 senior wing Deiondre Bird, who scored 17 points, and 6-6 junior post Duarte Papa-Vicente, added 16.

The game was hard-fought throughout. Lincoln led 14-13 after the first quarter, and Grant led 28-27 at halftime. The largest lead of the first half came in the second quarter, when the Cardinals went up 20-14.

Trent Callan's 17 points led Lincoln (11-7). Tim Graham scored 15.

The Generals (7-10) gained momentum late in the third quarter. Grant had been using a full-court press throughout the game, and the Cardinals turned the ball over twice in the final minute of the period. The turnovers led to four points, and the Generals took a 42-37 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We started the game with pressure,” Grant coach Paul Kelly said. “We wanted to get deflections and have guys hawk to the ball.

"In the third quarter, we continued with that pressure and that intensity, hoping we would wear them down a little bit and force a few turnovers and maybe get a few easy points in transition. We did what we could to speed up the game and really force them to think fast and make decisions.”

Grant tried to pull away from Lincoln in the fourth quarter, and led by as many as eight points. During the last three minutes, though, the Generals got into the bonus, and Kelly called off the full-court press.

“Once we got in the bonus, I didn’t want to commit a foul in the backcourt and send them to the free- throw line,” Kelly said. “If you bump them, it’s a one-and-one situation, and we can’t play aggressive. Even though it was working for us, I really wanted to back up and stay in front of guys.”

Without having to deal with the Generals' full- court press, the Cardinals rallied. Just not quite enough.

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