East Linn in driver’s seat in boys basketball; Warriors working on getting wins

Lebanon’s winter sports are in full swing as teams focus on league play and the playoffs or districts.

Boys Basketball
East Linn Christian’s boys were were solidly at the top of the 12-school Valley Coast Conference with a 6-0 record 13-2 overall at the end of last week. Playoffs start the week of Valentine’s Day.
At Lebanon High, the boys are “fairly competitive” but finding it hard to get W’s in a Mid-Willamette Conference with a lot of parity, Athletic Director Kraig Hoene said. “Our boys just need to find a way to score more consistently. They’re playing really hard. Eventually, it will turn for them.”
The boys were 1-4 in league, 3-7 overall, after a 49-41 loss to visiting Crescent Valley Thursday, Jan. 12, prior to Lebanon Local’s press time.

Girls Basketball
Lebanon’s girls have gotten off to a slow start in the new year after getting back from their greatly extended trip to a tournament in Florida in late December.
The girls were 5-2 coming into the new year, following a 1-2 performance in the KSA Tournament Dec. 20-22. But they have struggled since, going 0-3 start in league competition following that trip, including a 21-53 loss on Jan. 2, their first game back, to No. 4 Silverton.
“Our girls league is very top-heavy,” Hoene said.
“On any given night, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can get upset. Silverton, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, West Albany, Central, if you don’t play well at home, they can beat you. Our league is a lot like playing men’s basketball in the Big 10 – if you go on the road, you have to play your ‘A’ game.”
Nonetheless, he said, he expects the Warriors to be in the mix, come playoff time.
“The girls missed some days of practice following that trip. They have to just grind, get through this. They just have to get back to playing good ball and find a way to turn things around.”
Lebanon, 1-4, 3-7, fell 41-49 to Crescent Valley Jan. 12.
Across town, East Linn Christian’s girls were solidly in the middle of the pack of the 2A Valley Coast Conference with a 3-3 record, 7-8 overall, after an overtime win over Oakridge Jan. 12.

The Warriors are rebuilding in the water this year, Hoene said, with 15 boys, including five freshmen, and 22 girls, four of them freshmen.
“Our numbers are back up, but it’s going to take some time,” he said. “For some reason, COVID really hit the swim community hard.”
Lebanon will compete in the Mid-Willamette District Meet Feb. 10-11 at the Osborne Aquatic Center in Corvallis, with the state meet following in Tualatin Feb. 17-18.

Darius Freeman (145 pounds) and Isaac Jordan (220) were county champions for Lebanon, which hosted the Pape Linn County Wrestling Championships Friday, Jan. 6.
Freeman, wrestling at 145 pounds, defeated Harrisburg’s Nephi Heakin on a tiebreaker to win the title. Jordan decisioned Central Linn’s Malachi Hansen 4-2 to win.
Lebanon, with 22 wrestlers in the tournament, was second in the team standings, with 199 points, one ahead of Harrisburg (198). Sweet Home, which fielded 26 wrestlers, won with 286.5 points. West Albany was fourth (185.5), followed by South Ablany (70), Scio (69), Central Linn (57) and Santiam (11).
Other placewinners for the Warriors were Seth Wynn, second at 132; Josiah Wynn, second at 160; Landon Carver, third at 120; John Cartwright, third at 138; Jackson Williams, third at 182; Sebastian Sharp, fourth at 106, Austin Loveal, fourth at 195; Devon Keene, fifth at 145; Zechariah Halsey, fifth at 152; Clayton Eilers, sixth at 170; and Anton South, sixth at 285.
The event also included two girls for Lebanon. Mariah Godinho was fourth and Lita Haworth was fifth, both wrestling at 125 pounds.
Lebanon will compete Feb. 17-18 at the Mid-Willamette District Championships at the Salem Armory. State championships are Feb. 23-25 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

After winning their first-ever state championship in cheer last year with a performance team composed entirely of sophomores and freshmen, the Warriors are back with that roster intact and more numbers, which lead to big aspirations as they head into the state championships on Feb. 11 and the Oregon Cheer Coaches Association championships the following week.
“We’re thinking our girls will be one of the favorites after winning last year,” Hoene said. “We should be right in the mix.”