Techmen say league looks tough, but it's nothing they can't handle
When Quincy Sanders looks at the state's boys basketball rankings, the Benson senior gets miffed.
Benson is ranked third but has a win over No. 2 Sunset and beat No. 1 Jefferson the last time those teams met in the state tournament in March.
'We should be ranked higher,' Sanders says as his team prepared for its Portland Interscholastic League opener Thursday night at Grant. 'Everyone is down on us.'
Benson has much the same expectations as inner-city rival Jefferson, but there's no marquee player such as Missouri-bound Thomas Gardner to focus on, so it's easy to overlook the Techmen É and not vote them first or second.
Coach Don Emry says this Benson crew Ñ led by seniors Kevyn Green, Marcus Broussard, Tyler Monk and Sanders Ñ is as good or better than last season's team that finished fifth in the state.
'This is the quickest team I've had here,' says Emry, who has twice taken Benson to the state final (1998, 2001) in 13 previous seasons. 'You have to remember we got a lot better between December and March last season.
'We're a lot better this year than we were at this time last season.'
The key to the team might be Green, whose uncle, A.C. Green, led Tech to the 1981 state title. Kevyn Green is 6-4 and averages 13 points per game. The University of Wyoming scouted him earlier this week.
'I think I'm the team leader,' Green says, 'but only time will tell if that's true.'
Broussard is 6-4, Sanders is 6-2 and Monk is 6-foot. Juniors DeShawn McKenzie, Thomas Tillery and Bryan Martin handle the point guard duties.
'We all just know our roles,' Sanders says. 'We don't care about who's scoring, we just want to win.'
The Techmen, who will play in the eight-team Lakeside tournament in Lake Oswego next week, won their first three games this season, beating Sunset, David Douglas and McMinnville.
Those games and the Lakeside tournament should prepare Benson for the league schedule, which appears as tough as ever. Jefferson and No. 4 Lincoln figure to be at the top of the league, with Roosevelt, Wilson, Grant and Madison expected to be playoff contenders as well.
Benson will be slightly more focused on its two games with Jefferson (Jan. 28, Feb. 26) Ñ games that were played at the University of Portland's Chiles Center the last two seasons. Jefferson, the 2000 state champion, has won the last six regular-season games against Benson.
Sanders says the Techmen would love to unseat Jefferson as the three-time city champion (Benson and Jefferson were co-champions in 1999 as well), but they're more interested in winning a sixth state title trophy for the school.
'Those (Jefferson) games are going to be big, and we plan on snatching a win,' Sanders says. 'But our ultimate goal is to get to the (Memorial) Coliseum' for the state tournament.
'Hopefully, we'll see Jefferson when it counts this season, too.'