Benson senior Liddy Poindexter seems to be rediscovering the magic that made her an all-PIL basketball player, and the Techsters are hoping that helps them reach the state playoffs.
Poindexter was a first-team all-league selection as both a freshman and sophomore, but she sat out the first half of last season with what she termed 'personal problems.'
Last year, Benson missed the state playoffs for just the fourth time since 1988 and seemed destined for fifth place Ñ and another missed postseason Ñ until Poindexter awoke last week, scoring 21 points in a 66-64 overtime loss to Grant, which is among the Portland Interscholastic League title contenders.
Poindexter has rarely scored in double figures during Benson's games this season.
'My coach (Dennis Carline) asked me to be more offensive-minded,' Poindexter says. 'So I looked for my shot more often. I still like to pass, though.'
Poindexter says last Friday's game, which included a duel with Grant senior Toya Hill (who scored 27 points) was a refreshing reminder of how she used to play.
'That was fun going against Toya,' Poindexter says. 'She brought something out of me. I still like to see players like Toya and (Jefferson's Brittney Davis) do well. That makes me want to be a better player, want to be a better leader.'
Poindexter says she lost interest in basketball last year and does not plan to play in college.
Her teammates are happy to see her score more, especially in time for this week. Benson was scheduled to play Franklin on Thursday and plays at Lincoln tonight. Benson entered the week in fifth place, one game behind Franklin in the battle for fourth, and a state playoff berth.
'Her scoring has helped a lot,' says junior guard Brea Douglas. 'We need her to be successful. We think we can make the playoffs now.'
The St. Mary's swim team is having such a good season, it's hoping to accomplish a first: a district title.
The Blues, who finished second in the Mount Hood Conference meet last year, expect to challenge David Douglas at the district meet Feb. 6-7 at Mt. Hood Community College.
'We have strong numbers, and we're having a great season,' says third-year coach Liane Pound. 'We're really focused on the district title.
'We've won state before, but not district. Maybe this is our year.'
The Blues are led by sophomores Rachael Meagher and Caitlin Blood and freshman Franny Cyphers. The Blues are deep, too, with 60 swimmers who practice daily at the Portland State University pool.
'We have about 10 percent of the school on our team,' says Pound, a St. Mary's alumna.
Winning the district meet is a sizable task. David Douglas returns most of last year's team, which finished second in the state.
Tualatin senior Samantha Lang is having a banner season that she hopes will lead to the Athens Olympics. Lang, who has been wrestling for 10 years, started out 6-1, wrestling against boys at 160 pounds.
Lang was the second-ranked girl in the Jan. 14 national rankings at 158.5 pounds and has regularly beaten top-ranked Toccara Montgomery of Cleveland, Ohio.
'My goal is the Olympics,' Lang says. 'Both Athens and Beijing. As many as I can go to.'
David Douglas junior Na'Tasha Umemoto is ranked sixth at 121 pounds, which is one of the four Olympic weights, along with 105.5, 138.5 and 158.5.
The Olympic Wrestling Trials are scheduled for May 21-23 in Indianapolis.