Celt junior Kaelie Flores looks for a shot under heavy pressure by the West Albany defense Friday, Dec. 12. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald

Celt junior Kaelie Flores looks for a shot under heavy pressure by the West Albany defense Friday, Dec. 12.
KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The silver lining to the cloud that’s hung over the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team in its opening weeks is that it will finally be entering into contests with teams that aren’t undefeated.
The Lady Celts are 0-4 after facing a line-up of teams that hasn’t lost a single game so far this season.

“It’s been a rough start, but we need to get tougher offensively,” said Derrick Handley, McNary head coach. “We think they are a great team with a lot of talent on the roster, but they’re not quite seeing it in themselves yet. You can see it in the hesitation they have before putting up a shot.”

McNary lost its most recent contests with Tualatin and West Albany high schools last week, but neither by a large margin. The Timberwolves, currently the no. 5 team in the state, won 55-51 while the Bulldogs walked away with a 43-34 win.

The Keizer girls battled back fiercely after a letting the game get away from them in the first half against Tualatin Tuesday, Dec. 9.

“We broke down during certain parts of the first half,” said Celt Sydney Hunter, a McNary sophomore who put up 20 points against Tualatin. “Once a team gets a run going it breaks us down. We can be up five points and we’ll play like we’re down five points.”

The team found more of a groove on defense in the second half of the game, Handley said.

“We got into our zone, didn’t leave a lot of openings and forced a lot of turnovers,” he said.

Kaelie Flores had 12 points in the outing, Madi Hingston had six, Lauren Hudgins and Jasmine Ernest had four points each, Madi Rohl had three; and Kailey Doutt had two. Hudgins led the team in rebounds with 10 and the Celtics racked up 22 steals against the Timberwolves.

An injury and a third quarter run helped West Albany to a win Friday, Dec. 12.

Both teams played scrappy defense in the first quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs bunched up under the net forcing outside shots by the Celts that only rarely dropped.

The teams traded the lead in the first frame and the Lady Celts trailed 7-5 going into the second period. Hingston hit a two-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter to tie the game 7-7, but West Albany took it back on the next drive.