By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Behind a big first half, McNary (2-1) opened Greater Valley Conference play with a 72-54 win over West Albany on Friday, Dec. 8.

The Celtics outscored the Bulldogs 22-11 in the first quarter as McNary senior Chandler Cavell scored 11 of his 27 points and Lucas Garvey drained three 3-pointers.

The Celtics continued to add to their lead in the second quarter and went into halftime with a comfortable 39-21 advantage.

McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said the key to the fast start was more ball movement and less dribbling.

“Watching our first couple games on film, I thought often times we over dribbled the basketball, whether that was in transition getting the ball up the floor or in the half court offense and I thought we held the ball one extra dribble, which allowed the defense to recover from any advantage that we’d gotten,” Kirch said.

“We really focused the last couple days, get the ball up earlier. If you don’t have anything, get that ball moving forward, side to side, that way we can ball fake and attack the rim. We want to get to the free throw line a little bit more and I thought we did that tonight.”

The Celtics were 19-for-26 from the free throw line. Cavell finished 10-for-11.

Along with his 27 points, Cavell also added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

He was 8-for-12 from the field with all four of his misses coming from behind the 3-point arc.

“You can see that he’s playing at a speed that’s fast but he is under control with his body,” Kirch said. “That’s why his shooting percentage is so high. That’s why he’s able to make the assist rather than a turnover. He’s really just slowed his mind down but his body is still playing. The points are great but his rebounding, his assist, he’s just doing a great job.”

Struggling to rebound and defend, Kirch changed his rotation with 6’5 senior Ricardo Gardelli and 6’6 junior Boston Smith getting the start.

Smith finished with five rebounds to go with four points, two blocks and two steals. Gardelli had just one rebound but added 10 points.

“We wanted to go with our best jumpers and our biggest guys,” Kirch said. “They’re (West Albany) a pretty athletic team. Rebounding is the reason we lost up at Oregon City. We gave up so many boards so we wanted our best rebounders in there. Boston is getting there. He’s defending and rebounding. We’re working on his touch at the rim and Ricky gives us another shooting presence outside. It worked out well.”

Garvey finished with 18 points, two rebounds and three steals. Andrew Jones added two points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals.

The Celtics got nine points from their bench, led by Griffin Oliveira, who finished with six.

“We’re still working on some rotations and who can play different spots and when,” Kirch said.

“We have a lot of new guys that play varsity and we’re still trying to teach. You saw a lot of breakdowns in our zone. We’ve just got to practice more. I was pleased with our offense and our ability to move the ball and make them guard. If we’re getting to the free throw line early and we’re swinging the ball and attacking down hill, that was our point of emphasis and that is what we did.”