Grant prevails in hoops tourney
The Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A basketball tournaments turned out to be a Portland Interscholastic League showcase.
And for the Grant High Generals, it ended with a cathartic finish in the boys state championship game. Two free throws by Ty Rankin with seven seconds remaining gave Grant a 63-62 win Saturday over Jefferson in the final 2018 edition of a riveting rivalry
It was the first time in four down-to-the-wire games between the teams this season that the Generals prevailed.
The championship game, played before more than 3,000 fans at a sold-out Chiles Center, was the second pressure-packed win in 24 hours for Grant, which needed overtime in Friday's semifinals to beat Lincoln.
The Cardinals came back to beat Barlow for the third-place trophy, giving the PIL a 1-2-3 finish in the boys tournament.
On the girls side, the Benson Techsters pulled off two upsets — including a buzzer-beating finish in the semifinals — before falling to top-ranked Southridge in the 6A final.
Grant's state title was its first since 2008 and the school's fifth in boys basketball.
Jefferson was shooting for a second consecutive big-school title. The Democrats had won the previous seven games between the schools over the last two seasons — including three close games this season. And, this time without injured guard Marcus Tsohonis, the PIL player of the year, Jeff nearly did it again.
But Grant's Kelton Samore came up with a loose ball at crunch time, Rankin coolly hit both free throws, and then Aaron Deloney and Darius Guinn provided the last defensive play as the Generals found a way to win.
"Each loss (to Jefferson) was by a little bit," Rankin said as he stood among a throng of smiling, hugging Grant players and fans. "We knew we were getting closer and closer and eventually we were going to win and we did it when it mattered."
The dramatic final game capped a memorable season for Portland high school basketball. In addition to the PIL success, the La Salle Prep girls team on Friday took second place at the 5A tournament in Corvallis. One week earlier, the boys basketball teams from De La Salle North Catholic (3A) and Columbia Christian (2A) also brought state championships to Portland.