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CORVALLIS — There may have been a slight hangover for the Lebanon High girls basketball team.

On Friday of last week, the Warriors played their best basketball of the season while building a 20-point halftime lead at Corvallis. But things went awry in the final 16 minutes as the Spartans stormed back to steal a 46-45 victory.

With its confidence shaken, 11th-ranked Lebanon played another poor half to open Tuesday night’s Mid-Willamette Conference game at No. 8 Crescent Valley. The Warriors were much better after the break, but the hole was simply too deep as the Raiders held on for a 46-38 win.

“We had some kids that didn’t play exceptionally well down the stretch at Corvallis, and I think that doubt carried over,” Lebanon coach Mardy Benedict said. “So we just have to get their confidence going, and I think tonight they got some opportunities in the second half and they started doing some better things.”

The Warriors (16-6, 7-6), who close the regular season Thursday night against visiting Woodburn (1-21, 0-13), fell behind by 18 in the opening half and trailed 31-16 at the break.

The third quarter was a different story as Lebanon outscored CV (19-4, 10-3) 14-0 in the period to get back into the game.

Ellie Croco’s first bucket of the night trimmed the Raiders’ lead to 31-22 midway through the period. Consecutive putbacks from Ally Wessel and Croco pulled the visitors within five, and Wessel had another rebound basket in the closing seconds that made it 31-30 after three quarters.

“It was about our mentality, and I thought the girls just competed a lot better in the second half,” Benedict said. “For whatever reason, we came out flat and they kind of dictated some things early on and we challenged the girls in the second half. We came out and played hard and competed and that’s what we’ve got to do the rest of the way.”

CV’s scoring drought finally ended when Ana McClave made a pair of foul shots with 6:57 remaining. A Cali McClave three-point play made it 38-32 and appeared to settle the Raiders down.

Four straight points from Croco briefly gave the Warriors some life at 43-38 with 35.4 seconds left. The Raiders made their foul shots down the stretch to seal it, going 11 of 14 from the line in the final quarter.

“We had been struggling with our free throws lately, but we were able pull through,” Ana McClave said.

Croco, a sophomore post, paced a balanced Lebanon offense with 12 points. Nine different Warriors scored in the loss.

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Cal McClave led all players with 24 points while Anna McClave added 12. Senior guard Nicole Moore had eight points and made all four of her free throws.

Lebanon won the opening tip and Josie Williamson connected on an elbow 3-pointer to give Lebanon the lead just seconds into the game. Eight straight points from Cali McClave — including a pair of 3s — put CV up 8-5.

The McClaves (Cali 11, Ana four) scored all of the Raiders’ first-quarter points as the team led 15-7 heading to the second.

A Mary Workman 3 cut the deficit to five, but CV answered with a 12-0 run to establish control at 27-10. Ten of the points came in transition off turnovers.

Ana McClave credited senior guard Vanessa Taylor for providing a defensive spark.

“Vanessa is the biggest part of our defense,” McClave said. “She basically holds our defense on the point defender and she helped us a lot tonight.”

CV’s Moore and Taylor were recognized before the game during senior night festivities.


Sports Reporter

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