Winter finales: Warriors come achingly close to state titles

Lebanon High School athletes made their mark at the state level in winter sports, with the girls basketball team ending a 15-game win streak in the state tournament and Warrior wrestlers and swimmers finishing as high as second in state.

Lebanon’s final hurrah of the season will be the No. 1-ranked Explosion! dance team, which performed at the state championships shortly after Lebanon Local went to press on March 15.

Here is a roundup:

Girls Basketball

Lebanon won the Mid-Willamette Conference championship outright, for the first time in school history, with a 15-1 record, but stumbled in the state quarterfinals, losing 42-39 to seventh-seeded Crater, then exiting with a 56-43 loss to sixth-seeded Churchill. The Warriors finished 21-5 overall, and took home the Sportsmanship Trophy from the state tournament.

“It was a great year,” Athletic Director Kraig said. “The finish was a little disappointing. The girls were very disappointed but they’re going to look back at this season in five or 10 years and remember that this was the first outright district title in school history and the run they had.”

Junior Ellie Croco was named conference Player of the Year  and senior Megan Miller was named to the All-League First Team, with junior Mary Workman making the second team and seniors Morgan Hopkins, Maddy Romeo and Paige Wombacher all named Honorable Mention.  Head Coach Mardy Benedict was named Coach of the Year.

Boys Basketball

The Warriors finished winless in league and 3-19 overall. Senior Eddy Kennedy and sophomore Cole Weber were named All-League Honorable Mention.


The dance team, ranked No. 1 in the state, competed on the evening of March 15 at the state championships, after Lebanon Local went to press.

“They are loaded, really good,” Hoene said.

“They’re loaded with some seniors who have made big-time commitments to Coach Megan (Sharp) in that program.”

The Explosion! Has won every competition thus far, as well as Les Schwab Team of the Month honors.


Lebanon finished sixth at the 5A state championships Feb. 22-23, behind Crescent Valley, which won the team title, with Dallas third.

“We were hoping for better,” Hoene said of the team finish.

Senior Chase Miller, at 160 pounds, finished second to Thurston’s Austin Watson, who scored an 8-0 major decision over Miller in the final.

Miller won a freestyle trials tournament on March 9 in Sweet Home for Oregon’s Cultural Exchange Team, which will visit South Africa this summer, but has decided not to take the trip, Coach Mike Cox said.

At 220 pounds, sophomore Keith Brown placed second in the state tournament to North Salem junior Antonio Garcia, who scored on an escape in double overtime to win 3-2 after a tough no-call on an apparent take-down by Brown sent the match into overtime.

Brown had pinned his way to the final, which was a rematch of their district finals face-off, which Brown had won.

“Keith was going against a kid he had been going back and forth with all year,” Hoene said, noting that Brown also placed second as a freshman.

“It’s a heck of an accomplishment, his second year in the finals.”

Rian Howard placed fifth at 113 pounds; Andy Vandetta placed fourth at 120; Tucker Drummond was sixth at 138; and Joseph Blisseck was fourth at 182.


The Warrior boys finished fifth at state behind a slew of placewinners.

Taking home medals were senior Nico Barbafiera, second in the 200 Freestyle and fourth in the 100 Freestyle; Senior Jonathan Yordy, third in the 200 Individual Medley; and junior Drew Charley, fifth in the 100 Backstroke.

The boys relay team of Charley, junior Dane Torgerson, Yordy and Barbafiera were second in the 200 Freestyle Relay and fourth in the 4×100.

Also qualifying, but not making the finals, were Torgerson in the 50 and 100 Freestyles, and sophomore Tyler Simpson in the 500 Freestyle.

On the girls side, the only individual medalist was junior Elizabeth Beck, who was fourth in both the 200 and 500 Freestyles.

Also qualifying, though not making the final, was the 4×100 relay team of Beck, sophomore Taylor Harrington, freshman Devony Beckett and senior Isabella Ayala.

Spring Sports

Thanks to snow, many teams in Oregon, including some of Lebanon’s competition, are getting a late start, Hoene said.

The Warriors softball team opened the season March 12 with an 11-1 win over Crook County, which literally had not been outside yet, he said. The Warriors lost 14-0 to “a very good” Westview team the next day.

The baseball team started off 2-0, going into a home game Saturday, March 16, against Madison. The Warriors beat St. Helens 10-2 and followed that up with a win over Liberty the next day, 5-4.

The track team won’t compete until after Spring Break, and the tennis teams will start their league competition at the same time.

The golf teams are still building numbers, he said, with some players joining the girls from the  basketball team.