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The Generals were out for 17 days before taking down rival Jefferson. Now they are set on their next goal.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Grant High boys basketball's Andre Lawrence, left, tries to block a shot from Jefferson's D'Ryus Dent on Jan. 8, 2022, during the PIL Showcase at Franklin High School. The Generals play swarming defense with plenty of speed and size.Grant High boys basketball coach Robert Key got a chance to celebrate his 56th birthday in a special way on Saturday, Jan. 8.

His Generals squad took down rival Jefferson by 60 points, 89-29 during the PIL Showcase at Franklin High.

Sure, that final is a reflection of the different spots the two teams are in: Jefferson rebuilding with first-year coach Thomas Gardner and Key having a veteran group of players who have played together.

But the fact remains: Grant is more than ready to make a run for the Class 6A state title in 2022.

"They trust each other, they're all about winning and not about the individual," Key said. "It's a cohesive group; they all like each other. It's the deepest team I've had at Grant."

That's high praise coming from the man who helped lead the Generals to a 2018 state title, a 63-62 win over Jefferson.

Key makes a good argument as the one thing the Generals struggled with against Jefferson was fouling too much on defense. Still, Key swapped in plenty of forwards and centers to replace the guys picking up fouls and nothing really changed.

And having players like Adrian Mosley and Jae'Sean Pete helps a ton, as well.

Mosley had seven points in the first minute of the game against Jefferson and finished with 20 points, all in the first half as he didn't play the second half.

The first play of the game was an alley-oop from Pete to Mosley and the tone was set immediately, then really put to bed by Pete's three made 3-pointers.

Making the performance more impressive was the fact that Grant hadn't played for 17 days coming into the matchup.PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Grant High boys basketball's Adrian Mosley (1) tries to dunk the ball against Jefferson on Jan. 8, 2022, during the PIL Showcase at Franklin High School. Mosley is one of many talents on a deep Generals team.

Before the Les Schwab Invitational tournament, Key said his team got hit hard with COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the tournament. Getting through that stretch was more about health and safety than anything basketball related.

Now back on the court, the Generals look dangerous.

"It's all predicated on practice, how we go about it," Key said. "I try to take every practice like a game so it translates to a normal game to where everybody's on the same page."

While Jefferson may be down this year, the Portland Interscholastic League as a whole looks up.

Roosevelt had a strong showing at the LSI and has one of the top rated players in the state in Raysean Seamster. Lincoln has new blood with the Seely-Roberts twins, Moroni and Malachi, and their mom, coach Heather Seely-Roberts, leading the way. Cleveland is full of veterans while Ida B. Wells, McDaniel and Benson all have notable guys on their squads.

Marching through the PIL will not be an easy task for the Generals, who came into the season ranked No. 2 and sat at No. 7 in the Jan. 4 OSAA coaches' poll.

Finding a way to get through the PIL and securing a top seed to host the first two rounds of state will be crucial for the Generals. And that's the task Key has laid out for them.

Now it'll be all about executing the plan and finding a way to lift the first-place trophy in March.PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Grant High boys basketball's Max von Arx (20) defends a shot from Jefferson's D'Ryus Dent (20) on Jan. 8, 2022, during the PIL Showcase at Franklin High School.

"The first thing is seeing how we do in league, making sure that we host two games and not be on the road, that's the goal," Key said. "Our league is very solid so it's going to help a lot of teams in our league. One of the best times since I've been at Grant.

"It's (about) league to see where we go in March."


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