Local hoops teams aim for playoffs

Lebanon-area basketball teams are looking a need for some victories if they want to make the playoffs this season.
Both the Lebanon boys and girls teams are in sixth place in the league, the boys tied with North Salem.
“It’s going to require winning some games to get in,” said Athletic Director Kraig Hoene as the Warriors prepared for games against West Albany, the boys (4-7, 7-9) at home and the girls (4-6, 6-11) on the road Friday, Feb. 11.
Both have improved as the season has worn on, Hoene noted.
“The boys’ last two games were good games against good teams,” he said. “The girls are playing much better now that they’ve gotten (6-0 junior) Kelsey Guzon back. We’re in a girl’s league that’s loaded. We have four teams in the top 10.
“Our kids are playing good basketball. They’re just playing good basketball against really good teams.”
The Mid-Willamette Conference gets four automatic qualifiers for the playoffs. After that, wildcard teams will be added, based on RPI rankings.
After going 7-0 to start the season, East Linn Christian’s boys have had a taste of the reality of the 2A Central Valley Conference, with five league losses to drop them to 10-4, 18-6 overall, but their last win, 62-56 over then-No. 1-ranked Jefferson on Feb. 10, elevated them to third in the conference, which gets them a state berth.
East Linn’s girls have had a tough year, winning one league game, a one-pointer over Lowell at home on Jan. 25, to finish 1-13 in Central Valley Conference play, 3-20 overall.
Lebanon’s wrestlers and swimmers were heading to districts as Lebanon Local went to press.
Both district meets are one-day this year, because the state meets will follow similar formats.
“We went to one day to match state, so the kids will know what it feels like,” Hoene said.
Wrestling districts is at the Salem Armory Saturday, Feb. 12, with limited spectators allowed.
“We’ve got some kids who could be district champs,” he said. “Crescent Valley and Dallas are always strong.”
But Hoene said Coach Michael Cox has “a bunch of young kids who have really improved” and he’s confident that, with the top four wrestlers in each weight getting a state berth, Lebanon will be represented in a number of divisions. “We’ll have to see how well the kids wrestle.”
The state championships will be Feb. 26 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
In swimming, Lebanon’s athletes will be doing districts all in one day, also on Feb. 12, at the Osborne Aquatic Center in Corvallis. The state meet will be Feb. 18 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
Also heading for state is the Warriors competition cheer team. Lebanon goes into the Feb. 12 event at Oregon City High School with two first-place finishes and one second place during its competition season.
“Our girls have a pretty legitimate chance of winning it,” Hoene said.