by: THE OUTLOOK - DAVID BALL - Chinooks guard Ryan Scott takes on Vancouver's Andre Murray during Portland's 165-119 win Wednesday night. CLACKAMAS - The Portland Chinooks took a big step toward claiming the division crown with a 165-119 win over the rival Vancouver Volcanoes in International Basketball League action Wednesday night. The win marked six straight for Portland.

"Every season we have some guys come in late from playing overseas, but they all know each other so it starts clicking right away," Chinooks coach Terrance Dickens said. "We usually finish off with a good 10-game stretch and it makes my job easier."

But Vancouver had taken two of the first three games against Portland this season, and opened up to a 7-2 lead in the early going Wednesday.

The teams would trade the lead three times in the first quarter before the Chinooks moved ahead to stay when David Lucas got behind the Vancouver defense on back-to-back possessions to spark a seven-point run.

Portland's Ryan Scott hit a 3-pointer to stretch the Chinooks lead to 35-24 at the end of the first quarter. He added two more bombs to start the second period, and Everett Spencer swiped a steal and turned it into a dunk as Portland pulled away.

Former Portland State guard Andre Murray tried to keep the Volcanoes close with a team-high 22 points, including three long balls in the first half.

But the Chinooks repeatedly beat Vancouver down the floor setting up easy finishes in the paint, while the Volcanoes were challenged by a crowd of defenders every time they took the ball to the rim.

The game was over before halftime when Mac Hopson rebounded a missed free throw and raced down the sideline. He slowed just past halfcourt and sent an underhand lob toward the rim with teammate Jared Cunningham swooping in to finish the alley-oop for a 78-50 lead.

The Chinooks maintained a 30-point margin throughout a second half that was filled with highlight reel plays that kept the Portland bench entertained.

Spencer was on fire to start the second half, scoring 10 points in the first four minutes.

The win gives the Chinooks (11-4) a 2 1/2-game lead in the Continental Division with three games left in the regular season - all on their home court at the 212 Sports Complex in Clackamas.

"Our goal right now is to nail down that number one seed and get a bye for the playoffs," Dickens said. "Then it's just getting ready to go and may the best team win. I'd put my nine or 10 guys up against anybody."

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