demos

Demos pass key PIL test

Jefferson edges Grant 53-48 in tense battle
By Cliff Pfenning

PORTLAND - Third-ranked Jefferson got an early start to the playoffs in what it hopes will be a state-title run Friday in a 53-48 victory over rival Grant in a PIL boys basketball game at Jefferson.

Grant's strategy involved slowing the game down significantly and that nearly turned into a significant upset, although the Demos were able to survive and remain unbeaten in league play, and extend their win streak to nine games.

Jefferson got 21 points from sophomore Lamar Washington and 16 points from junior Kamron Robinson in the win, but it wasn't a typical league victory. The Demos, state runners-up the past two season, were held to their lowest total in nine leage wins, and led by just three points with five minutes remaining. They stretched the lead to seven several times, but Grant, which got a teram-high 14 points from senior Emanuel Steward, kept forcing turnovers and remained a threat to tie or win into the closing seconds, missing several three-point shots.

"That's the strategy we'll probably see throughout the playoffs," Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said. "We just need to get together and start playing playoff basketball right now."

Jefferson improved to 14-4 overall, 9-0 in PIL games. Grant, which beat Jefferson in the 2018 state final, dropped to 11-7, 7-2 with both of its league losses to Jefferson.

The Democrats lost the title game to Jesuit last season, and the Crusaders remained No. 1 in the state with a 46-44 win over Beaverton Friday. Jefferson actually moved to No. 2 with the win Friday.

The Demos play host to Wilson Tuesday, while Grant, which dropped one spot to No. 12 with the loss, plays host to Benson the same night. 

Only Jefferson and Grant are among the top 32 ranked teams in the state.

The Generals had scored at least 61 points in their seven league wins, but ran a very deliberate offense and trailed just 12-11 at the end of one quarter and just 25-23 at halftime. Jefferson stretched the lead to 46-36 after three quarters, but a 7-0 run to start the fourth cut that deficit to just three with 5:15 remaining. Jefferson's size, led by Robinson at 6-foot-9, Washington at 6-4 and freshman Marquis Cook at 6-9, collected several offensive rebounds and they were able to get a dunk, a rebound basket and three free throws to round out its scoring.

Jefferson heads toward the post season without a senior on its roster, something Cook said might play to their benefit.

"Without a senior, people might be looking at us as not having enough experience to win," he said. "But, we've got three guys who were on last year's team, and we've all been playing club ball for years, so we think we're going to be ready for the playoffs.

 

 

RSS feed