Closing burst carries Generals into OSAA 6A fourth-place game at Chiles Center

After a sluggish start, the Grant Generals found their rhythm in time to extend their season to the final day of the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A boys basketball tournament.

Closing with a 16-4 burst, Grant beat Westview 52-45 on Thursday morning and advanced to Saturday's fourth-place game at Chiles Center. Ninth-seeded Grant (18-9) will meet sixth seed West Salem (21-6) at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Ty Rankin scored 17 points and Kelton Samore 16 for the Generals, who bounced back from a Wednesday quarterfinal loss to rival Jefferson.

Westview scored the game's first 10 points as the Generals struggled to find good looks against the Wildcats' zone defense. But Grant tightened its defense to keep in touch before the offense woke up.

"I knew it was going to be tough," Grant coach Robert Key said, noting his players were down after the loss to Jeff. "I just made sure the kids kept staying engaged. It was just a matter of getting that sweat going."

Trailing 10-3 after one quarter and 15-7 midway through the second, the Generals forced a string of turnovers and Rankin scored 10 quick points to help pull Grant into a 20-20 halftime tie.

"At the beginning of the game, we had to get the rust out of our eyes," Rankin said. "We just had to keep moving the ball and everybody shoot their shots that they shoot."

Samore, who finished with a game-high nine rebounds, said defense changed the tenor of the game.

"We picked up our defense, rebounded well and then got out in transition," Samore said. "We love to get out and go, and we were able to do that starting in the second quarter."

An 11-5 edge in scoring off turnovers and an 18-12 edge scoring in the paint helped the Generals prevail.

Westview led by four at the end of a back-and-forth third quarter. Grant made only one basket in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and fell behind by five.

But an 8-0 run put Grant ahead to stay. The run included a put-back hoop and a transition basket from Samore, a steal and layup from Aaron Deloney, and an assist and driving layup from Ian Downey.

Deloney and Samore made four consecutive free throws to push the lead to five points with 33 seconds on the clock.

Westview pulled within three with 26 seconds left, but James Bullock scored against the press and Rankin turned a steal into a layup to cap the victory. 

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