By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School girls varsity basketball team started off looking less polished than it had in several games, but the team quickly built up a substantial lead over the visiting Vikings Tuesday, Feb. 4.
The Lady Celts won 68-43.
McNary players had more than a few problems with ball control, but the game’s first half was still one of the team’s best, said Paul Pickerell, McNary head coach.
“We were trying to work on some offensive options for some of our upcoming opponents and we still have some ‘fine tuning’ to take care of,” Pickerell said. “ I thought they played one of the best first and second quarters of the season. We were aggressive offensively and active defensively.”
The Vikings made it to the board first with one from the foul line, but McNary, led by sophomore Madi Hingston, quickly left their opponents in the dust. Hingston accounted for nine of McNary’s 21 first quarter points en route to a team-leading 21 points that included three treys. Hingston also had nine steals and six assists.
Freshman Sydney Hunter had six points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, Baili Keeton put in 11 points for McNary, Ashlee Koenig and Kaelie Flores had seven each, Sydney Hunter and Cammie Decker had six apiece, Reina Strand and Alyx Peterson had four each, Jasmine Ernest put up three, and Emma Jones had two.
A deluge of snow canceled plans for McNary to meet Sprague Friday, Feb. 7, and a McKay game planned for Tuesday is now slated for Monday, Feb. 17. Games with those two teams and West Salem will complete the regular season for the team.
“It’ll be a tough task to come away with three victories but that’s the goal and that’s what we need to do to secure second place in the CVC,” Pickerell said. “I want to see us improve in our half court offensive execution, to keep pushing the ball in transition to get easy baskets, and to keep playing tough pressure defense. “
The Titans (5-2) and McNary (5-2) meet Friday, Feb. 14, at West Salem High School in a game expected to decide second place if neither team loses before then. However, West also had to contend with the undefeated South Salem Saxons prior to hosting the Celts.