The Lebanon High School girls varsity basketball team entered the season with high expectations and so far, the squad has the results to match.
The Warriors have won their first three games in convincing fashion. Lebanon went on the road to defeat Ridgeview, 68-50, in the season-opener and then defeated visiting Milwaukie, 71-47. The squad followed up that result with a 62-35 victory at Willamette High School in Eugene.
Lebanon varsity coach Mardy Benedict said the Ridgeview game was a good opener.
“They had a good guard, a good post. That was a good test for us early,” Benedict said.
Against Milwaukie, the Warriors struggled to build a lead in the first half.
“I thought early we didn’t make a lot of baskets but we got good looks. Hopefully, in a four-quarter game you’ll get some of those to fall,” Benedict said. “I was proud of the girls for recovering from that.”
Lebanon began to pull away in the final minute of the first half as Paige Wombacher knocked down a 3-pointer and Ellie Croco grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the put back.
Those plays allowed the Warriors to go into the break with a 31-22 advantage.
“Paige, that’s a big shot. We need more of those, girls hitting big shots,” Benedict said.
The coach was especially pleased with the way his team played in the second half as they outscored the Mustangs 41-25.
“Most important was coming out in the third and taking care of business. That was important to me,” Benedict said.
Croco, a senior post, had a big game, leading the Warriors with 33 points and dominating the Mustangs inside. Morgan Hopkins and Mary Workman each added 11 points.
Milwaukie extended its defense in the fourth quarter in an effort to cut the deficit. Workman, the team’s senior point guard, handled the pressure with little problem. Workman said her experience helps in these situations.
“Just stay calm and scan what I have to work with, what they give me,” Workman said. “I think it was more about teamwork and using our strengths. We really tried to get the ball in to Ellie.”
Lebanon (3-0) was scheduled to open league play on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Corvallis. The Warriors will then host Dallas on Friday, Dec. 14.
“Every game is a chance for us to get better,” Benedict said. “We’re moving the ball, seeing things. Now it’s going to be executing and finishing. We’ve got a lot to do to get better defensively.”