• Sports update: Benson girls, Grant boys win marquee basketball games

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    Benson senior Cierra Ellington (shown here at the 2018 state tournament) scored 33 points to lead Benson over Grant.

    The Benson girls and Grant boys won key showdowns Saturday in the headline games of a Portland Interscholastic League showcase event at Marshall High School. The Benson girls dominated Grant in an 87-55 victory, and the Grant boys beat Jefferson 83-82 in the latest version of those teams run of tight games.

    Every PIL team played at one of two locations Saturday, with six games at Marshall, and four games at Wilson High School.

    Seniors lead Techsters: The Benson girls got 33 points from senior guard Cierra Ellington and 23 points from senior guard Tayler Lyday, and the Techsters used their pressing defense to force 20 turnovers to win on the Generals’ home court.

    Benson, the returning Class 6A state runner-up, took an early lead by scoring 27 points in the first quarter and  led comfortably throughout the game. The last two seasons, Techsters and Generals split their two games and shared the PIL championship.

    Grant senior Monka Hickok, last season’s PIL Player of the Year, fought foul trouble and was limited to 12 points.

    The win continued a strong start for Benson (7-4), which has lost just once to an in-state opponent, 55-50 to two-time defending 6A champion Southridge in a rematch of last year’s state championship game. The Techsters have beaten Tigard when it was ranked No. 1 in the state as well as Garfield of Seattle, which is ranked No. 2 in the Washington Class 3A poll.

    Benson and Grant will play again on Wednesday, Feb. 6, in a 7:15 p.m. game at Benson’s gym.

    Generals win another close one: Senior Aaron Deloney made a free throw with 9.6 seconds left to give the Grant boys their second win in a row over Jefferson. The previous came in last year’s Class 6A championship game, where the Generals won 63-62. Before that, Jefferson had won eight in a row over Grant.

    Saturday’s game continued a run of close matchups between the two teams. Last year’s four games all were decided by five points or less.

    Deloney finished with 30 points and eight assists, and senior Ty Rankin added 17 points for Grant. Senior Marcus Tsohonis, the returning PIL and Class 6A Player of the Year, led Jefferson with 25 points.

    Grant and Jefferson will play again on Thursday, Jan. 31, in a 7:15 p.m. game at Jefferson High School.