Benson triumphs without star player
Techmen, despite their youth, may give rival Jefferson a battle
Benson's boys basketball team seemed to find itself in the second half of its game at Grant on Wednesday night.
Leading just 26-25 in the third quarter, the Techmen went on an 8-0 run on the way to a 62-52 victory over the Generals in a Portland Interscholastic League game.
In doing so, they looked like a squad that could give league favorite Jefferson a battle. This from a team that lost its best player, Drew Dukeshire, during the Les Schwab Invitational.
'Drew is gone for the season,' junior forward Kevyn Green said. 'But we can still be a good team.'
Dukeshire, a sturdy 6-foot-4 forward who was an all-league first-team pick last season, re-injured his ankle in December.
The Techmen (6-4, 3-1 PIL) seemed to respond in the second half against Grant, which led 23-20 at halftime.
Benson attacked the Generals on the offensive end, scoring frequently after offensive rebounds. Benson was 23 of 34 at the foul line, led by senior JR Moore, who was 10 of 13. The Techmen led by 17 midway through the fourth quarter.
Moore, a 6-8 senior, scored 20 points in his best outing of the season. Not only was he an offensive force, but he played a vital role in controlling Grant on defense.
Without Dukeshire, the Techmen are a decidedly younger team, led mostly by juniors: Green, Quincy Sanders, Isaiah Allen and Marcus Broussard.
'The key for us is to stay aggressive and play with a lot of energy,' said Green, who scored 12 points. 'If we can do that, and if we can play as a team, I think we can beat Jefferson.'
Benson's strong play comes at the right time. The Techmen play host to Franklin tonight, then meet playoff contenders Madison, Wilson and Jefferson next week.
Benson's game with Jefferson is set for Jan. 18 at the Chiles Center. The Democrats are 4-0 in games the two schools have played at the University of Portland in the last two years. But Benson won the most recent game between the schools in the semifinals of the state tournament at Memorial Coliseum.
TONIGHT'S GAMES: Friday's key PIL game features Madison at Wilson. The game will be covered on a tape-delayed basis by the district's radio station, KBPS (2:30 p.m. Saturday) and on cable Channel 28. The television coverage includes the junior varsity game between the schools.
In the Mount Hood Conference, David Douglas won its duel with Reynolds for first place, 62-34. The Scots play at Centennial tonight. They don't meet second-place Central Catholic until Jan. 25.
MORE BENSON: The Techmen all sported headbands for their game Wednesday. It's a team thing they started doing in December.
'It's just something to bring us together,' Green said.
The team coordination ends there, though. The headbands were four colors: black, white, orange and blue. There's one simple rationale for the numerous colors.
'My headband is black because that's all I had at home,' Green said. 'I guess if we wanted to look better, we should all wear the same color.'
GIRLS HOOPS: Jefferson shook off three weeks of inactivity by beating Grant 65-58 Tuesday at Grant. Thanks to a scheduling mix-up, the Democrats didn't play a game during the holiday break. They were supposed to play Dec. 27-28 in a tournament at Dallas, but that school scheduled too many teams and had to eliminate Jefferson.
'We learned kind of at the last minute,' Jefferson coach Milt Adams said. 'Their line to us was, 'Oh, no one called you?' We really missed those games. We pretty much had to start our season over because we didn't play for three weeks.'
Jefferson, with no player taller than 5-11, trailed 44-39 before finishing with a flurry of energy, outhustling the Generals on everything from loose balls to rebounds to inbound passes Ñ even Grant's inbound passes.
'That's our game,' said sophomore Brittney Davis, who scored 16 points. 'We're not very tall, so we have to play harder than other teams.'
Jefferson got a big boost from 5-foot freshman Jequala Warren, who constantly hassled the Generals ball-handlers.
'She kept us moving,' Adams said. 'And that's what we need all the time.'
Jefferson plays at Benson on Tuesday.
In the Mount Hood, Central Catholic won its 11th straight game Tuesday, beating Parkrose 64-35.
SWIMMING: Round One of the annual duel between Lincoln and Grant in boys swimming went to the Generals on Wednesday at the Matt Dishman Community Center.
Grant won seven of 11 races and easily defeated the Cardinals 95-75. The Generals won the first meeting between the schools last year, too, only to be upset at the district meet, which handed the district title to the Cardinals. Grant got its vengeance by finishing sixth at the state meet, 15 places ahead of Lincoln, which tied for 21st.
The district meet is scheduled for Feb. 8-9 at the Dishman pool.
Lincoln dominated the girls meet with Grant, winning 10 of the 11 races to outscore the Generals 114-56. Lincoln has won 18 of the last 21 girls swim titles.