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Two years removed from a Class 1A state semifinal appearance, the Lebanon High girls basketball program has been put on hiatus.

Lebanon has canceled the 2019-20 basketball season, citing a lack of numbers.

"This is really painful to have to do after all the time and effort that has been put into the program, even by the coaches before me," Lebanon athletics director Chad Cruthis said. "It's one of those things that you hate to cancel because once you get rid of it, it's difficult to get it back some times."

A powerhouse program in southern Illinois, Lebanon grabbed seven consecutive Class 1A regional titles, tallied 163 wins over those years and a hoisted a third-place trophy in 2017-18 under Cruthis. 

But facing low turnouts, Cruthis and new coach Josiah Mutton faced the unenviable task of going into the season with less than six players total on the roster. 

"They talked to some friends and tried to convince girls to come out (to no avail)," Cruthis said. "We knew going into this year after graduating three girls from last year's squad that we needed to find some extra bodies, but we couldn't get the extra ones out."

The girls that did come out to play will continue to practice under the new coach and will also attend junior high practices to help build a bond with their future teammates.

"We'll have open gyms with them with the coach that we hired for this year," Cruthis said. "Hopefully, that bond will encourage them to go ahead and come out."

With the regular-season canceled, Lebanon will still hosts its annual Christmas tournament and will look for a replacement to fill in for its vacancy.

Cruthis is hopeful that this is a one-year setback. He said he will reevaluate the situation next season.

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