By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
SALEM—After a nearly two week break from game action, McNary needed about three quarters to begin looking like its normal self Friday, Jan. 27 in a 53-33 victory at Sprague.
“It was pretty obvious that we hadn’t played in 10 days,” Lady Celts head coach Derick Handley said. “We had a slow start, not a ton of energy early on. We weren’t making a lot of outside shots. Our tempo was a lot slower than we were hoping for. It’s hard when you just play each other for as long as we had. It was really about midway through the third quarter that we got back to how we had been playing and starting knocking down some of the shots that we’ve been making on a consistent basis.”
Even with the slow start, McNary led from start to finish as Paige Downer made a 3-pointer 35 seconds into the game. The Lady Celts held on to a 11-7 lead entering the second quarter and Sprague made a 3-pointer with 5:40 remaining in the first half to get within 15-12.
However, McNary answered with a 6-0 run and entered halftime with a 24-15 advantage.
After Sprague outscored the Lady Celts 12-11 in the third quarter, McNary won the fourth 18-6.
“We played really solid man-to-man defense, which we haven’t been playing a lot of lately,” Handley said. “It was good for us to get back to more of what we’re used to doing.”
Senior Sydney Hunter had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds at halftime and finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds to go with five assists.
“It was the quietest 14 points and 11 rebounds at halftime you’ll ever see,” Handley said. “Sprague was smart. We weren’t shooting well and they just packed the key and tried to prevent her from getting easy looks but she’s such a great rebounder. She works so hard that a lot of the time we’re trying to get stuff going through her but the best offense for her is her rebounding.”
Sophomore guards Abigail Hawley and Anita Lao led McNary in the second half. Hawley finished with nine points and Lao added eight off the bench.
“They weren’t shooting well early on,” Handley said. “For sophomores, they have just a ton of confidence in their abilities. Their teammates trust them so they kept shooting. Usually with young girls who are being thrust in that position, they’ll stop shooting if they miss the first couple.”