jefferson democrats

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.



Woodburn survives battle of fresh faces

Federico wins first game against former teammate now at Jefferson
Aug. 31, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - The coaching debut for both Nico Federico and Aaron Gipson went down as a memorable one Friday night at Jefferson High.

Federico's Woodburn Bulldogs jumped to a 15-0 lead in the third quater and seemed to have the game in hand having moved within the Jefferson 10-yard line toward another score. But, Gipson's Democrats then responded with a fourth-down stand and 97-yard drive capped by a two-point conversion to breathe excitement into the game early in the fourth quarter, especially when they responded again with another defensive stand that forced a punt.

With glory only 90 yards and another two-pooint conversion away, the Demos gave up a short interception return for a score and Woodburn held on for a 21-14 victory in the opening weekend of high school athletics.

Woodburn got a 27-yard scoring run from Martin Ray, a 38-yard scoring pass from Sergi Yakis to Nate Ellingson and the interception and score from Camilo Guizar to go along with a safety caused by a bad snap on one of just two Jefferson punt attempts.

Jefferson got a pair of scoring passes from quarterback Deven Jackson, one to Jamartae Brown to cap the 97-yard drive, and the other to Haszell West to cap a 78-yard drive with 1:08 left in the game.

Woodburn, after the Demos booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, ran out the clock for the win.

"I've always wanted the be a head coach, and I have great kids on the team," Federico said. "We worked hard and battled, and got the win. It feels good."

Woodburn plays again Sept. 7 at home against Cleveland. Jefferson plays against Grant at Grant Park.

Federico and Gipson both played on defense at the University of Oregon in 2002-03, although Federico as a walk-on. Gipson led the nation in interceptions as a senior in 2005. The two entered Friday's game with significantly different coaching backgrounds, though, as Federico took over the program at Woodburn, where he works, after seven years as an assistant at Cascade High. Gipson had not coached a game at any level prior to Friday's game.

Jefferson struggled as a team under a first-game coach might early on, losing yards on its first two plays, drawing a penalty and firing off a 29-yard punt. Woodburn, with a larger roster that featured many more linemen, drove for a score in six plays with Ray racking up the final yardage on a third down. The Demos responded with Jackson lofting a perfect pass to be intercepted by Ray at safety.

But, the Jefferson defense, inspired by defensive guru John Neal, who has years of experience at Oregon, held firm and forced a punt, a move that showcased the strength of the team and the core of its hopes to win the Portland Interscholastic League title for the fifth time in seven years. The Demos drove to the Woodburn 23, but stalled due to poor snaps and fumbles, which plagued the team throughout the game.

Woodburn drove 65 yards on just four plays with Yakis completing two passes for 64 yards to highlight the action.

After another Jefferson drive stalled, the Bulldogs drove inside the Jefferson 20, but an interception ended that drive.

In the third quarter, Woodburn moved ahead 15-0 when Jefferson's initial drive, which started at its 14, turned into a safety. The Bulldogs punted on their following drive, but recovered a fumble and then moved toward a knockout blow when the Democrats again stiffened and got the ball back.

Jackson, with four completions to the 6-foot-4 Brown, drove Jefferson to its first touchdown under Gipson in 11 plays, two of them fourth-down conversions that led to the deficit being sliced to 15-8 with 7:45 left in the game. Another quick stand got the ball back, but a pair of penalties placed it at the 5.

On first down, Jackson got flushed from the pocket and tossed a soft pass on the run that Guizar easily caught and scored with.

Woodburn took over the ball on the Jefferson 21 after the Demos failed to convert on a fourth down - Gipson eschewing the punt at virtually every opportunity, but the Jefferson defense again held and Jackson drove the team to its second score. But clock management doused any comeback drama.

Throughout the game, the stadium clock regularly failed to stop following dead ball plays, which shortened play by as much an estimated three minutes.







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