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If the Techsters have their hopes on repeating as state champions, it'll take Chandler-Roberts and more to win it all.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Benson girls basketball's Mahogany Chandler-Roberts throws up a shot against Jesuit on Dec. 7, 2021 in the gym of the former Marshall High School.If there was one word to describe Oregon high school girls basketball in Class 6A for the 2021-22, that word would be youth.

Plenty of young talent has risen quickly to the top of rankings everywhere, carrying their squads with them.

And one of the brightest examples is sophomore Mahogany Chandler-Roberts at Benson Tech.

The 6-foot-2 standout already draws the eye of opponents just from taking her spot in the warm-up line, and the sophomore delivers on those expectations most nights.

"She's a special talent. I've never coached a kid like her in my coaching career here at Benson," Benson coach Eric Knox said of Chandler-Roberts back at the start of the season in December. "She can play on the block, she can put it on the floor. She's just got to keep getting more and more confidence."

A month later, that confidence has grown, evidenced by a 19-point, 12-rebound performance against Jefferson at the MLK Showcase last Monday, Jan. 17.

Whether it's grabbing offensive rebounds to keep the Techsters' possession alive or streaking out on the fastbreak when one of Benson's speedy guards makes a steal, Chandler-Roberts is taking over.

"She's playing with so much poise, she's realizing how great of a talent she is," Knox said following the win over Jefferson. "She's just playing big, I think the light bulb is coming on. She's having an epiphany about her game and you see the maturity come. She makes the right cuts, the right plays.

"Maturity means you stay after it until all parts of your game come together."

Chandler-Roberts said she mostly tries to just play her own game, but does look to some of the WNBA's taller guards like Candance Parker and Maya Moore to help with her own game.

Most importantly, Chandler-Roberts is trying to grow herself on the court and step into the mature role her young team needs in order to succeed.

"I just knew me being a sophomore, I did have to have that maturity and get it together," Chandler-Roberts said. "I just need to realize to get it together, get out of my head and know that I'm mature, know that I'm a sophomore and I'm learning and getting better."

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Benson girls basketball's Mahogany Chandler-Roberts battles inside for a layup against Jesuit on Dec. 7, 2021 in the gym of former Marshall High School.

With Chandler-Roberts' growth is the hope that Benson grows alongside her with three other sophomores and two juniors all seeing significant play time or starting.

Chandler-Roberts sees her role on the court as being a force on offense and someone who can take over a game when need be.

"I feel like my role is to dominate and be the leading scorer and help my team get the win," Chandler-Roberts said."

Benson has been doing a good amount of winning recently, now sitting at 7-3 overall and 4-0 in the Portland Interscholastic League.

Including a 78-38 drubbing of McDaniel, the Techsters have rattled off four consecutive wins following an 11-day pause due to COVID.

Being a top-10 team, and technically the defending champions still from 2019, a state title is certainly on the minds and in the eyes of fans. But right now, Chandler-Roberts just wants the chance to get in the gym with her team and continue to build as a whole.

"Us just getting in the gym, working on our shots, working on our ball handling, working on playing together as a team," Chandler-Roberts said of the team's goals. "If we don't, then we're not going to win state. Just getting that chemistry and building that chemistry with each other is important."

So while all that potential and talent is great to have on the team, Knox has seen first-hand what it takes to win a state title.

And isn't just potential and talent. It takes playing together.

"We're going to win a lot of games, but in order to win the most important games, you gotta be a great team," Knox said. "Talent doesn't beat great teams, great teams beat great teams and we're slowly moving in the right direction from a very talented team to a great team, a mature team."

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