By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The undefeated Lady Celts of the McNary High School varsity basketball team will face their toughest challenge yet when they roll into the Nike Interstate Shootout next week.
The Celts must contend with the No. 1-ranked Oregon City High School team.
“We’re just going to play hard and see how we do,” said McNary’s Teresa Peterson.
Coach Molly Gehley said the team members will each need to have one of their best games, but she’s happy for them to compete with a talented team.
“Oregon City is going to pressure us and we need to be able to handle the ball on the full court well,” Gehley said. “If we can do that and utilize our opportunities on offense, the team will do fine.”
The Celts (6-0) chalked up two more wins last week with victories over Sheldon High School, 55-48, and West Albany High School, 57-49.
Against Sheldon, the Celts ended up fending off a late-game surge as the Fighting Irish poured in 21 points in the fourth period.
“Our first half was really, really good and then we just kind of came out flat and all of our fundamentals started to go,” said Celt Aerial Rice.
Deven Hunter paced the team with 20 points, Peterson and Averi Wing had nine apiece, Jessica Darras and Izzy Strand had six each, Rice put in three and Jasmine Ernest had two.
The Celts fell behind shortly after the tipoff in the game with the Bulldogs, but a stronger second half put them over the top. It took a few minutes to shake off the dust, Peterson said, but she was encouraged with how the team finished.
“Our whole team was just rocking that game and we needed to beat them,” she said.
Peterson put up 16 points in the outing followed by Hunter with 11, Darras with 10, Wing and Stacey Titchenal with eight, and Ashlee Koenig and Strand with two points each.
Hunter, an Oregon State University recruit, said the team is doing a good job of picking up where they left off last season, but there’s still room for improvement.
“I think we just want to work on more consistency and knowing where everybody is,” Hunter said. “We’re still working on transitions and things that need a little more polishing.”
Gehley cited Peterson and Darras for their efforts on the court this past week and throughout the preseason.
“Jessica is one of the toughest players I’ve ever had and she does a lot of the intangibles, she’s blocking her players off, keeping them off the boards, she’s down on the floor and doing it all well. Teresa s learning how to drive well off of the wing position and she’s finding her outside shot,” Gehley said. “We get the same kind of game from them each and every time.”