By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
SALEM—McNary (14-4, 7-3) got within one possession in the fourth quarter but with one starter out with an injury and another playing through the flu, the Celtics ran out of gas at Sprague.
“Not having two of our top eight or nine really hurt us,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said after an 85-74 loss on Friday, Jan. 27. “I thought we battled but the guys that were out there were just exhausted.”
The Celtics never led in the contest as Sprague sophomore Jailen Hammer, who finished with 30 points, knocked down two 3-pointers in the first 35 seconds to give the Olympians a quick 6-0 lead.
McNary trailed just 15-14 at the end of the first quarter but were then outscored 23-14 in the second.
Sprague continued to extend its lead in the second half.
Trailing 52-36, Matthew Ismay and Kevin Martin made back-to-back 3-pointers. Easton Neitzel, who was battling the flu, then got the Celtics within 52-44 on a steal and layup.
After Hammer knocked down another of his seven 3-pointers, Lucas Garvey and Neitzel scored in the final minute to get McNary within 55-48 entering the final period.
The Celtics then started the fourth quarter with a field goal by Adam Harvey and two free throws from Neitzel. But Sprague answered with a 14-1 run as McNary went quiet from the floor.
Harvey ended the drought on a 3-pointer with four minutes to play but at that point it was too late.
“We missed a lot of shots that we normally make,” Kirch said. “They shot about 70 percent from the field. Add both of those things together and it was kind of the perfect storm. They’re a very good team, very well coached. Their coach (B.J. Dobrkovsky) did a great job tonight.”
McNary played without one of its best defenders in senior Alex Martin. Garvey got the start in his place and finished with four points and two assists.
Chandler Cavell came off the bench to the lead the Celtics with 20 points, two rebounds and two steals. Harvey had 16 points, two rebounds and an assist. Neitzel added 12 points, two rebounds, three steals an assist. Ismay finished with 10 points, eight assists, three rebounds and two steals.