PREP WATCH: PIL boys teams holding their own
Girls teams have fewer preseason victories
Heading into Christmas, PIL boys basketball teams are holding their own in competition with the rest of the state.
In Class 5A:
The Jefferson Democrats are the standout team, with a 4-0 record and victories over four 6A teams, including Jesuit and West Linn.
The Demos are going for a repeat state championship. They have won four of the last six state titles in 5A.
Benson has to rank as one of the state's best 2-5 teams the Techmen have lost to 6A Grant and Lincoln and two good Washington schools.
Elsewhere in PIL 5A, Madison (4-2) is a strong playoff contender. Cleveland (3-2) has showed that it can put it together and play well, just not consistently yet. Franklin (4-4) has risen from the basement and learned how to win games. Wilson (2-4) has been and should be in a lot of games. Roosevelt (1-5) is the one team that has slipped, although the Roughriders have had some tough competition in preseason and just got their first win, beating Hood River Valley.
In Class 6A:
Grant and Lincoln both are off to strong starts.
The Generals (5-0) have yet to dominate anyone, but they got a signature victory at home over Jesuit 59-58, beat Benson 56-48 and won at Barlow 62-59 all high-level competition.
The Cardinals (5-0) have been scoring more than they might have expected, averaging 72 points per outing while allowing 59. Lincoln handled Benson 86-63 and is off to a 2-0 start in league with home wins over South Eugene and Thurston.
The PIL 5A girls have not been able to match the boys in preseason success.
Of the PIL 5A's seven teams, only Wilson (4-3) has a winning record. Going into Christmas, the clubs were a combined 12-31, with a point-differential of minus-11.4.
In the OSAA rankings, only No. 18 Cleveland is in the top 23 out of 38 teams from around the state.
Wilson will benefit from its holiday trip to Phoenix, Ariz., for competition in the annual Nike Tournament of Champions.
Cleveland, Roosevelt and Madison are 2-4. Jefferson is 1-4, Benson is 1-6 and Franklin is 0-5.
Cleveland has yet to put two wins in a row together, but the Warriors did edge host Sunset 53-52.
Roosevelt downed De La Salle North Catholic 66-33 and Lakeridge 51-49.
Madison beat David Douglas 56-54 and Hood River Valley 53-42.
Jefferson and Benson also have wins against De La Salle. The Demos won 50-25, and the Techsters won 30-23.
Against 6A teams, Wilson is 1-2, Cleveland 1-2, Roosevelt 1-3, Madison 1-3, Jeff 0-4, Benson 0-4 and Franklin 0-4 for a league total of 4-22.
Versus the 6A competition, Cleveland is minus-47 in scoring, Wilson plus-8, Roosevelt minus-64, Madison minus-39, Jefferson minus-106, Benson minus-88 and Franklin minus-113.
In 6A, Lincoln's girls put together a three-game winning streak that included league victories over South Eugene 44-33 and Thurston 49-30. The run ended Saturday with a 51-43 loss at Glencoe, leaving the Cardinals at 3-4.
Grant's 1-6 start includes a 56-47 win over Lakeridge in the Generals' mid-December tournament and a 67-43 loss at home to Glencoe on Dec. 6.
Northwest Oregon Conference