Warrior sports: Girls start new year with early MWC hoops lead

With the holiday break behind them, Lebanon High School athletes in most sports are focusing on district competition as the races for state berths begin in earnest. Here’s a round-up of how things are going for the Warriors. 

Girls Basketball

Lebanon’s girls are tied with Silverton at 2-0 for an early lead in conference play going into their next game, a big one against Silverton Tuesday, Jan. 14, which will be the second of four straight road games before they return home Jan. 24 to host West Albany. 

Lebanon is 6-3 overall and ranked sixth in the 5A, with losses to Willamette (61-46), 6A-level Forest Grove (45-37) in the Century/Hillsboro Tournament over the holidays, and a 61-58 loss at home to No. 1-ranked 4A Philomath on New Year’s Eve. They turned around and destroyed Dallas on the road a week later, 61-26. 

The Warriors looks to be competitive with anybody when all their players are on the court. 

“We lost to Willamette without (6-2 senior center) Ellie (Croco),” Athletic Director Kraig Hoene said. “We’re a different team when we don’t have a 6-2 girl in the middle.”
 He said senior guard Mary Workman  is “having a great year” and freshmen Haley Hargis and Hallie Jo Miller are both getting big minutes. Plus, junior Kylie Steiner is starting to make a full recovery from a case of mono and “she’s really starting to shoot the ball pretty well for us,” Hoene said. 

The Mid-Willamette Conference will be tough, which is usual, and the return of North Salem has created the schedule that has the girls on the road 80 percent of the first half of their league season. 

“If they can survive the first half, they will be home 80 percent of the second half of league,” Hoene noted.  

Boys Basketball

Going into a Friday night non-league game against Putnam, which is  a rarity for Lebanon, given the size of the MWC, which starts in earnest Tuesday, Jan. 14, at home against Silverton – the third of six straight home games for the Warriors. 

Lebanon, 3-6 overall and 0-2 in the MWC after a double-overtime 73-66 loss at home to Dallas Jan. 7,  has been in nearly every game. The boys came away from the  Oregon Holiday Hoopfest tournament at Summit with a win over Ridgeview, to go with their two season-opening wins in early December against The Dalles and Hood River Valley.

Their tournament losses included Marist (64-48), a top 4A team, and 6A-level Summit (75-63) and  Grants Pass (67-62).

The Warriors played most of the Summit tournament without two post players Gideon Osborne and 6-6 senior Dane Torgerson, which didn’t help against the big teams.

Against Dallas, the Warriors got 22 points from sophomore guard Henry Pointer and some big minutes from freshman Sam Brandt. 

“We’re still young,” Hoene said, noting that Lebanon was up by 17 at the end of three quarters against the Dragons, but couldn’t put it away. “All those jumpers we were making in the third period didn’t fall in the fourth.

“We’re seeing growth with the kids. They’re playing very hard, defensively. They’re starting to put it together. They’re going to have a better year.” 


LEBANON SWIMMERS Charley Drew, center, and Daniel Pearson, left, dive in for the 50 Freestyle at the Lebanon Invitational swim meet hosted Jan. 4 by the Warriors.

Lebanon’s boys and girls both finished sixth in their own invitational Saturday, Jan. 4, but it was against some of the toughest 4A and 5A competition in the state. 

In addition to North Bend, whose girls and boys both placed third in the state 5A meet last year, the field included Sweet Home and Newport, whose girls  and boys respectively are the defending 4A state champions, and La Grande and Marist, both presumptive top-10 4A teams. 

The Warriors are not deep, by 5A standards, but they have talent. 

Senior Charley Drew tied for first in the 50 Freestyle and was fourth in the 100 Breaststroke, and freshman Daniel Pearson was third. Senior Elizabeth Beck was second in the 200 Freestyle and third in the 100 Breaststroke, and teamed with Ellie McMasters, McKenzie Crenshaw and Devony Beckett for a fourth-place finish in the 200 Freestyle Relay. 

Drew, Pearson, Kase Basting and Nathan Gaston were fourth in the boys 400 Freestyle Relay. 


The end of the holiday break was busy for the Warriors, who traveled to Reno for the Sierra Nevada Classic on Dec. 27-28, then returned for the Linn County Championships on Jan. 3, hosted by West Albany, before hosting a cultural exchange team from Japan Wednesday, Jan. 8 in a night of freestyle that also included competitors from West Albany and Dallas. 

In the Linn County tournament, the Warriors finsihed third with 161 points, behind Sweet Home (277) and West Albany (237.5), and ahead of Scio (114), Harrisburg (102), Central Linn (96.5), South Albany (74) and Santiam (13). 

Individual county champions for Lebanon were Austin Dalton at 145 pounds and Raphael Ramos at 285. Runner-up finishers were Landon Carver at 106, Andy Vandetta at 126, Tucker Drummond at 152 and Thaddeus Flores at 160. 

Other placewinners for the Warriors were Tanner Wallace, fourth at 113; Darius Freeman, fifth at 113; Justus Freeman, fifth at 132; Pablo Gonzalez-Solis, fifth at 170; and Josue Ramirez, fifth at 220.

“I don’t think this is (Coach) Michael’s (Cox) deepest team, but he’ll coach them up and they’ll be competitive,” Hoene said, adding that with Crescent Valley fielding a loaded squad this year, “we’re all wrestling for second place, anyway – at district and at state.”