McNary senior Madi Rohl looks for a route around a South Eugene defender in the game Wednesday, Dec. 3. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

McNary senior Madi Rohl looks for a route around a South Eugene defender in the game Wednesday, Dec. 3. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School girls varsity basketball team’s return to the court Wednesday, Dec. 3, ended in a 38-31 loss for the Lady Celts.

Head Coach Derrick Handley didn’t mince words when it came to assessing the situation.

“We were looking a bit robotic. We had such a focus on being in the right place every single play that we forgot to react when things didn’t go our way,” Handley said.

With a new head coach and several new faces on the team, senior Lauren Hudgins chalked it up to jitters.

“We were still feeling each other out,” she said. “Our defense was better than our offense, and we hurried the offense.”

Junior Madi Hingston shot a team-leading seven points; Kaelie Flores and Vanessa Hayes had six each; Sydney Hunter put up five; Jasmine Ernest hit a trey; and Hudgins and Kailey Doutt had two apiece.

While the Lady Celts also ended up on the losing side (63-52) in a game with Glencoe High School Thursday, Dec. 5, execution was better on both sides of the ball.

“Our effort was as good as anyone could ask for. Our defense stops drove us and let us focus on the press,” Ernest said.

Handley said the game came down to the final minutes before getting out of reach for McNary.

“They made a run in the fourth quarter and we cut it to four points with less than two minutes left. Then we got in a fouling game and they made the free throws,” he said.

Despite the loss, Handley said the growth from the first game to the second was significant.

“Our girls were a lot looser and they ran the offense really well,” he said.

Hunter had 12 points in the outing; Hingston and Hudgins had 10 each; Flores put up nine points; Madi Rohl had six; Emma Jones drained a three-pointer; and Ernest had two points.

“If we met Glencoe again, we could definitely beat them. It came down to rebounding and we should have been running our plays again even when they didn’t work out the first time,” Hudgins said.

Keeping an open mind when it comes to offensive