LEBANON — A close game at halftime turned into a rough second half for Lebanon in a 55-35 Mid-Willamette Conference girls basketball loss to Crescent Valley on Friday night.

Crescent Valley blew open the game in the third, outscoring the Warriors 22-9. Lebanon was unable to cut into the deficit in the fourth.

The Warriors could not handle the Raiders' half-court defense and attacking offense well enough.

"Defensively we needed to communicate more. They attacked very well, but defensively we needed to communicate and close out," Lebanon 6-foot-1 sophomore post Ellie Croco said.

"At times we've done it really well but it's one of those things where it's on and off and we haven't quite gotten it to where it's a constant thing."

CV junior guard Cali McClave said the Raiders were able to follow coach Eric Gower's halftime instructions well enough to put together a big half.

"What he said was we need to play better defense and just keep doing what we're doing on offense, because our defense makes a lot of the plays for our offense," McClave said. "So that's what he told us and we came out and played good defense and that kind of set us up for better offense."

CV was able to keep Croco under wraps in the second half after Croco seemed to be headed for a strong scoring game with 13 points at the half.

The Warriors were able to get the ball to Croco and she was able to fake right and go left to score in the first half. But the Raiders had worked on defending the play and stopped it after the break.

Croco said the Warriors were looking to pass effectively, go on the attack on offense and pressure the Raiders on defense.

"Our guards passed very well and toward the end we were working on ball faking and attacking more because we hadn't been as much from the first and third quarters," she said.

It was a big game between two of the top teams in the MWC. The Warriors and Raiders both entered the game with two losses on the season and the Raiders a game up in the MWC standings.

The Warriors are now in fourth in the MWC at 12-3 overall, 3-3 in conference. The Raiders are tied with Silverton for second at 14-2 overall, 5-1 in the MWC.

The Raiders began the third with a 14-5 run and boosted the lead to 47-30 at the end of the quarter.

It was a 19-point game when Ana McClave scored to start the fourth and the Raiders kept Lebanon at bay for the rest of the game.

"We learned more things that we need to work on like attacking and defense," Croco said. "But it was one of those games that just helped us improve more and the next time we play them, we'll be ready."

Lebanon travels to Woodburn on Tuesday.

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