High school finds game plans complicated by coronavirus combat strategy

The uncertainty surrounding the influx of the coronavirus into Oregon is taking its toll on high school athletes in east Linn County, including Lebanon High School.
As Lebanon Local went to press, school officials were awaiting word from OSAA on what was going to happen next, considering the NCAA had just canceled its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as its other remaining winter and spring championships.
“We’re waiting for OSAA to give more of an official stance,” Lebanon Athletic Director Kraig Hoene said Thursday, before Gov. Kate Brown announced the closure of all schools in the state for two weeks. “Right now, they’re just kind of figuring out everything.”
Referring to the NCAA decision, he added, “It will be interesting to see what the trickle-down effect will be for us. I’ve spent more time on conference calls today than I have in my first six years combined.”
Most districts around the state are looking at canceling spring sports, at least through the end of March or the first week of April.
“That’s basically the beginning of our league season,” Hoene noted.
He said he expected final word from the OSAA before the weekend.
Meanwhile, Lebanon is allowing athletes to practice, but is limiting attendance to team personnel – “no outsiders until further notice.”

Girls Basketball
The OSAA already cut the girls basketball team’s season short, canceling the remaining basketball playoffs, after the Warriors made it to the fourth-place game in the state tournament where they would have faced Churchill Friday. They lost 49-29 to Wilsonville in the quarterfinals, but bounced back to beat Corvallis 49-33 to stay alive. Lebanon finishes 19-7 overall after a 13-3 run through the Mid-Willamette Conference.
Senior Taylor Edwards made her last game count against Corvallis, going 6-13 from the field for a team-leading 15 points in only 17 minutes, along with seven rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.
“I’m super happy for Taylor,” Hoene said. “She worked so hard. She happily accepts her role on the team and does the dirty work. When the team was in a hole, a little bit, against Corvallis, she got them over the hump.”
“Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish it off. But they had a great year. They played a really good Wilsonville team on Tuesday and they ended with a win.”

Boys Basketball
The Warrior boys finished their basketball season 6-18 overall and seventh in the MWC, a significant improvement over last year, under second-year Coach Casey VandenBos.
“If (6-6 senior post) Kyle Haley doesn’t get hurt, I think there would have been a couple more wins out there,” Hoene said. “The kids had a much better year. They played hard all year. There are signs they’re moving in the right direction. It’s just part of that process.”

In swimming, the Warriors had two finalists at state.
Senior Elizabeth Beck was third in the girls 500 Freestyle (5:24.32, after a 5:21.60 in prelims) and fourth in the 200 Freestyle (2:01.19).
Senior Drew Charley was third in the 100 Backstroke (56.33) after finishing eighth in the 100 Butterfly.
The 200 Freestyle Relay team of Beck, Ellie McMasters, McKenzie Crenshaw and Devony Beckett were ninth, then Beck, McMasters, Beckett and Emma Squires placed seventh in the 400 Freestyle Relay.
The boys 400 Freestyle Relay team of Daniel Pearson, Caleb Christner, Nathan Gaston and Charley, also qualified for state, finishing 12th.
“I think the kids felt good about how they finished,” Hoene said. “They work hard and I’m glad they got what they did.”
This was legendary coach Gus Arzner’s final year.
“Unfortunately, he’s done,” Hoene said.

The big finisher for the Warriors was 145-pound sophomore Austin Dalton, the seventh seed in the state wrestling tournament, who won the state championship. Dalton pinned his way to the final, all of the falls coming over higher-seeded wrestlers, including a quarterfinal pin in 57 seconds over No. 2-seed Colby Meek of Crater.
“Getting that fall over that Meek kid was huge,” Hoene said.
Dalton defeated No. 1-seed Kody Koumentis of Silverton 5-3 in the final.
The other placewinner for Lebanon was 152-pound senior Tucker Drummond, who was fourth after entering the tournament seeded fifth. Freshman Landon Carver also qualified at 106 pounds but went two and out.
The Warriors finished 11th.
Hoene credited Coach Michael Cox and his team for their finish in a tournament dominated by Crescent Valley – with a state record-tying 303 points and had six state champions, Crook County, Thurston and Crater.
“If 11th in state is one of your off years, that’s a good indication of where the program is at,” Hoene said.