The Generals' offense doesn't quite click, but they beat Lincoln 61-50
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
PORTLAND - A season-low total of points in the first quarter might have been just what the Grant Generals needed as they head toward the state playoffs.
After putting up just six points in the first quarter and trailing by as many as 10 points in the half, Grant rallied behind solid defense and strong passing to overcome an inspired performance by Lincoln, 61-50, in a PIL boys basketball game Tuesday at Lincoln.
Grant got 15 points from junior Kelton Samore, and 14 points each from senior Noel Bangsberg and sophomore Aaron Deloney to improve to 14-8 overall and 12-3 in league play with one game left against Benson. The Generals are ranked No. 9 by the OSAA calculations, which would put them in position to play host to possibly two games in the state playoffs next week.
"I told them that's playoff basketball, at it's best for us," Grant coach Robert Key said of his post-game team meeting. "One of the best wins on the road for us all season."
Lincoln got 15 points from junior Bryce Sloan, but got outscored 22-6 in the fourth quarter and dropped to 13-8, 10-5 with its OSAA ranking at 16. At No. 16, the Cardinals would play host to a first-round playoff game.
Grant entered the game with the idea a win would boost its resume to a ranking of No. 8, with a key factor being its strength of schedule that includes top-ranked Jefferson twice as well as No. 2 West Linn twice. All four games were among its eight losses. At No. 9, they would only play host to the first-round game and play the second round at the 8th seed unless that team lost in the first round.
The resume boost looked shaky in the first eight minutes as the Generals missed lay-ups and an array of outside shots, scoring just six points and trailing 14-6 after one quarter. The team ramped up its offense to trail just 29-24 at halftime and finally got the lead at 37-36 on an offensive rebound by the 6-foot-9 Samore with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
Lincoln finished out the quarter with an 8-2 run and led 44-39 with eight minutes left. But, the Cardinals scored only one point in the first five minutes of the quarter and strong free-throw shooting by Deloney - who made nine of this 10 free throws, boosted the Generals to the win.