Celt Trent Van Cleave makes a leaping lay-in in the game with Sherwood High School Monday, Dec. 21. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Celt Trent Van Cleave makes a leaping lay-in in the game with Sherwood High School Monday, Dec. 21. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

“A perfect storm” ended in the first loss of the season for the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team.

The Celtics traveled to Central Catholic High School Tuesday, Dec. 22, and the Rams dealt them a 75-47 loss.

“It was a seven-point game at half, but they did a real nice job using their athleticism to create turnovers, we had 20 of them. We also didn’t handle the pressure as well as we would have liked. Combined with that, they hit some very difficult and deep shots (12 of 19) from three,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.

Kirch thought part of the issue was simple exhaustion. The boys played three games in five days, and against some stiff competition.

Things started out looking bright for McNary. The Celts ran up an 8-2 lead to start the game, but then their shots stopped falling.

“We were 3 of 20 from three, and didn’t do a good job getting back in transition after the misses. I thought we were a little rushed in our shot selection instead of working to shift the defense, and we didn’t put ourselves in position for many offensive rebounds,” Kirch said.

McNary, which was ranked sixth in the state headed into the game, fell to 11th in OSAA 6A rankings on the loss. Fortunately, the loss did not affect the Celts’ Greater Valley Conference position. The Keizer team is currently tied for first with South Salem High School. The conference leader will likely be decided in a game between the two teams at McNary Tuesday, Jan. 5. Game time is 6:45 p.m.

Prior to the Central Catholic loss, McNary pounded out a 76-52 win over Sherwood High School Monday, Dec. 21.

“I thought the Sherwood game went well, particularly the second half. We really shared the ball well and had a high number of assists which led to a high shooting percentage,” Kirch said.

The Celts edged the visiting Bowmen 16-14 in the first frame and put together three 20-point quarters for the win. Senior Harry Cavell led scoring with 20 points and nine rebounds. Trent Van Cleave had 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. Junior Mathew Ismay had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.