March 10, 2023, by Reid Tingley
#4 Lincoln faced off against #5 Gresham in a quarterfinals matchup at the Chiles Center on Thursday.
The Cardinals got out to a fast start with Moroni Seely-Roberts scoring the game's first 6 points. A few minutes later Malachi Seely-Roberts knocked down a pair of threes on back-to-back possessions to stretch the Lincoln lead to 19-10 at the end of the first.
The margin grew to 12 early in the second, before Gresham responded with a run of their own. Four three pointers in the quarter helped the Gophers mount a 16-7 run that cut the score to 33-30 heading into halftime.
After the break, Graham Eikenberry elevated his play, serving as a catalyst for Lincoln to rebuild their lead. Eikenberry gained an edge in the battle down low, grabbing 5 boards and adding 6 points in the quarter including a two-handed slam that gave Lincoln a 43-36 lead with 1:17 left in the third.
In the fourth, both teams continued to trade baskets in a fight to reach the semifinals. With 2:20 left to play, Lincoln gained a 58-48 advantage.
But Gresham refused to go away easily. The Gophers nailed an improbable three straight three-point attempts to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 60-59.
With 1.9 seconds remaining, Gresham got the ball back with a chance to win. Their final shot hit the backboard, then the inside of the rim, before bouncing off and ceiling the Lincoln victory.
On the night, Moroni Seely-Roberts scored a game-high 24 points and added 13 rebounds in a double-double performance. Malachi Seely-Roberts added 18 of his own, including 4 three-pointers, while Graham Eikenberry finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and a pair of blocks.
After surviving this hard-fought contest vs Gresham, the Cardinals’ next test will be against Oregon’s #1-ranked team, West Linn, on Friday night in the state semifinals.
March 6, 2023, by Reid Tingley
On Friday night the final two PIL girls' basketball teams remaining traveled to face top-6 opponents in the second round of the OSAA State Playoffs.
The PIL regular-season champion and #11-ranked Benson Techsters went on the road to face #6 Barlow Bruins.
Early on, Barlow found a rhythm in front of their home crowd and extended a double-digit lead by the middle of the second quarter.
Down 25-11 with just over 4 minutes remaining in the half, Benson dug deep to bring themselves back. The Techsters ripped off 13 unanswered points to emphatically flip the momentum heading into the locker room.
The tightly contested matchup remained close throughout the second half. Benson managed to pull even early in the third with a layup from junior Mauriana Hashemian-Orr. Minutes later the Techsters took a 34-31 lead after a three from leading-scorer Eboni Clay, who would finish with 19 points.
The two sides continue to battle into the fourth, but a barrage of Barlow threes in the final minutes ultimately sealed the Bruins' victory over Benson, 60-56.
#12 ranked Jefferson also went on the road to face Clackamas. The Demos fought hard but lost in the end to the #5 team in Oregon, 72-42. Three Jefferson players: Charisma Johnson, Chauncey Andersen, and Abrianna Lawrence all finished with double-digit scoring efforts, while Leila Núñez added a pair of steals.
On the boys' side, Cleveland and Lincoln met in an all-PIL second-round matchup with a quarterfinals berth on the line.
One year ago to the day, Cleveland defeated Lincoln in the second round to send the Cardinals home. This year, the two teams split their regular season matchups, with Cleveland winning on Lincoln’s home floor two weeks ago.
Early on, Lincoln appeared focused on re-writing the recent history of this rivalry. In front of their home crowd, the Cardinals gained a 13-9 lead with five different players scoring in the first quarter.
Midway through the second, Lincoln threatened to build an insurmountable gap, pushing their lead to 25-14 with three minutes left in the half.
However, Cleveland closed strong behind seven second-quarter points from senior Jackson Cooper. With seconds remaining, a SC Tresvant layup narrowed the score to 27-21 going into the break.
In the third, Lincoln responded with another run of their own, led by brothers Moroni and Malachi Seely-Roberts who combined for 39 points on the night.
This time, Cleveland would not be able to close this game.
Lincoln senior Graham Eikenberry made his mark on the game as well, stifling the Warriors with four blocks down the stretch. Eikenberry’s defensive ability and energy helped the Cardinals protect a double-digit lead over the final 12 minutes.
Then, with 4:15 remaining, Moroni Seely-Roberts drove the lane and punctuated the result with a highlight dunk. The crowd erupted, turning their nervous optimism into a rapturous celebration.
The game ended 73-50 giving way to a dance number and the celebratory cutting of the net led by the Cardinals’ head coach Heather Seely-Roberts. For Cleveland, this brings an end to a successful season that saw them finish 2nd in the PIL.
The other PIL team featured in the second round was #21 seed Benson. The Techman had a tough test on the road against #5 ranked Gresham.
They delivered an impressive performance, pushing Gresham to the final minutes. However, Benson would fall just short in the end, losing 62-61.
March 2, 2023 by Reid Tingley
PIL girls basketball has two teams advancing in the OSAA state championships. 12th seeded Jefferson defeated Sherwood, 56-45, with Abrianna Lawrence and Chauncy Andersen each scoring 19 to lead the Demos. Lawrence also had 7 assists and 6 rebounds, with Anderson adding in 8 rebounds. Carmela Nunez had 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. They take on 5th seed Clackamas on March 3rd at Clackamas (time TBD). 11th seed Benson defeated Liberty, 65 - 43. Mahogany Chandler-Roberts led scorers with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Samarah Massey added 12 points and 6 rebounds. Benson will take on 6th seed Barlow on March 3rd at 7pm.
#19 seed Cleveland fell to #14 seed Sheldon, 57-49. #31 seed Wells lost to South Medford, 74-31.
Benson boys basketball had their first OSAA state playoff win under coach Earl Clark, making this the most wins in one season. The #21 seeded Techman beat #13 seeded Southridge, 58-52, with Kavon Bradford getting his 17th double/double of the season. Bradford scored the go-ahead 3-point play with 2:07 left, giving Tech their 1st lead of the game. Benson had trailed by as much as 10 in the 3rd quarter.
#13 seed Cleveland beat Lake Oswego, 66-52 and #4 seed Lincoln advanced as well, defeating #29 seed David Douglas 76-47 to round out the three boys teams moving on from the PIL. The Warriors and Cardinals will play Saturday at Lincoln for a bid to the quarterfinals.
#30 seeded Roosevelt fell to #3 seed Tualatin, 71-65. #18 seed Grant came up short against #15 seeded Sherwood, 68-60.
Congratulations to our PIL Wrestling programs on a successful season! Here are the PIL finishers from the OSAA State Championships:
February 28th, 2023 by Reid Tingley
The Grant Generals and Benson Techmen met on Saturday in the regular season finale that would also determine the third-place finisher in the PIL Boys Basketball standings.
The festivities started with a ceremony for the Grant seniors. Fans cheered on the graduating players and their families in a celebration of their high school careers ahead of the Generals’ final game on their home floor.
The game began with a scorching hot shooting display from Benson. senior Fernando De La Torre led the way with half of the Techmen's six long-range buckets in the first quarter, helping his side blitz out to a quick 15-7 lead.
Early on the contrasting styles were clear between the two teams. In response to Benson’s volume shooting, the Generals opted to attack the basket, drawing four fouls in the first and tightening the score to 23-15 by the end of the period.
To start the second quarter, Grant’s Christian Green continued his impressive scoring pace with 14 more points. Back-to-back threes from Green drew the Generals to within a point, then an assist tied the game 29 all with just over three minutes to play in the half.
Grant would steal the lead back just before the half, to go into the break up 35-33.
In the third, Benson wing Kavon Bradford erupted for a 9-point quarter of his own, as he fought to keep the Techmen in the game.
Still, the patient offensive approach preached by Grant head coach Dondrale Campbell allowed the Generals to steadily grow the lead to 55-47 heading into the final 8 minutes.
Then, early in the fourth, an impressive drive from Grant senior Josh Peeler followed by a quick steal on the next possession stretched the Grant lead to 62-48. Soon after coach Campbell would call off his seniors to applause from the home crowd.
Green finished his day with a game-high 34 points for Grant, while De La Torre led the way for Benson with 16.
The performance capped off a third-place finish for Grant in the PIL standings.
Both teams' seasons will continue as they face competitive matchups this Wednesday, March 1st in the first round of the state playoffs. Cheer on both schools as Grant travels to play Sherwood and Benson visits Southridge!
February 25th, 2023 By Reid Tingley
Two of the PIL’s top boys' basketball teams met Friday when Lincoln hosted Cleveland in a matchup with significant implications for the regular season title.
The two sides had met a tightly contested matchup on December 16th, finishing in a 69-64 victory for Lincoln. Two months removed from their first meeting, the Warriors and Cardinals were set for a rematch as the top two teams in PIL standings.
Lincoln entered the game as the OSAA’s 4th-ranked team in the state thanks to an undefeated record in league play.
For Cleveland, a successful season had seen the Warriors reach a 10-3 record in the PIL and secure a top 15 ranking in Oregon. This was an opportunity for the Warriors to earn a statement victory to build momentum leading into the state tournament.
Things tipped off to a fast-paced opening. Both teams traded possessions and baskets leading to an early 12-7 lead for Cleveland four minutes in. After the first quarter, the Warriors held a 19-11 lead.
Early in the second, an and-one from senior guard Jamel Pichon stretched the Cleveland lead to double digits making it 24-14.
But Lincoln closed the half strong on an Isaac Margolis three, a quick turnover, and a fast break layup to cut the score to 33-28 and put themselves back within striking distance at the break.
After a low-scoring, defensive-minded third quarter, the Cardinals managed to narrow the deficit to 41-38. 8:00 minutes remained with a chance to secure the PIL regular season title in front of their home crowd.
In the fourth, Lincoln continued their comeback bid spearheaded by senior Moroni Seely-Roberts who finished with a game-high 27 points. His brother Malachi Seely-Roberts piled on another 10 after halftime, including two fourth-quarter threes that cut the Cleveland lead to one possession down the stretch.
But ultimately, Cleveland’s poise on offense and an efficient 13 for 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth sealed the game down the stretch. The Warriors would hold on to win 62-58, thanks to a true team effort in which four players contributed double-digit scoring efforts.
Now with the state playoffs on deck, the Cardinals and Warriors have landed in the same quarter of the 6A playoff bracket and could be set for a second-round rematch on Saturday, March 4th if they can get past first-round games against David Douglas and Lake Oswego respectively.
February 13th, 2023 by Reid Tingley
Our PIL Game of the Week featured the league’s top two girls basketball teams. The matchup took place Tuesday night when OSAA’s 12th-ranked Jefferson Democrats welcomed the 9th-ranked Benson Techsters.
The two teams entered the contest unbeaten against the rest of the PIL. In their lone matchup earlier this season, Benson outlasted Jefferson 60-48 at the PIL showcase.
The rematch started with a statement run from the Techsters, blitzing out to a 19-3 lead in the game’s first five minutes. As Jefferson settled into their zone defense, they were able to limit Benson’s attack and find a rhythm of their own offensively.
The Demos managed to cut the deficit to single digits midway through the second quarter. Then a Benson response, punctuated by a long-range three at the halftime buzzer, gave the Techsters a 40-27 lead as both teams entered the locker room.
Jefferson continued to hang around as the second half opened. Then back-to-back threes from Demos’ lead scorer Abrianna Lawrence cut the lead to 45-40 with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter. The home crowd erupted as the run forced a Benson timeout to halt the momentum.
Both sides traded runs as the tension built and the score tightened to 60-59 with just over a minute left to play. Possession went back and forth until a foul sent Jefferson’s Leila Nunez to the free throw line, who sunk both to claim the Demos' first lead of the night.
Just 7.7 seconds remained for Benson to preserve their 40-game PIL win streak. The ball inbounded to junior guard Olivia Hinck who cut through the defense and pushed her way to the hoop for a game-winning layup on her first points of the game.
Jefferson would not get a chance to respond before the final buzzer sounded, ending this epic game 62-61 in favor of Benson. Despite the heartbreaking finish, this was an impressive performance from Jefferson against the class of the PIL, and in front of an electric home crowd.
For Benson, they were pushed to the end in the first single margin of their PIL schedule. The Techsters were led on the scoresheet by junior forward Mahogany Chandler-Roberts who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The last-second victory brings head coach Eric Knox’s group one step closer to another PIL regular season title.
We can only hope to see a third matchup between Benson and Jefferson in the OSAA state playoffs, which will begin on February 28th.