By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary (4-0) got a taste of its own medicine.

Playing another team of mostly guards, the Lady Celts eked out a 51-46 victory over West Albany on Friday, Dec. 8 to open league play.

While McNary never trailed in the game, the Bulldogs got within four points early in the fourth period and then 45-44 on a 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining.

After passing the ball around the perimeter in an attempt to run out the clock, McNary senior Kailey Doutt saw a lane and drove to the basket, making a layup and then the free throw to complete the 3-point play.

“I saw an opening to the left and I went for it. That’s my strong side,” Doutt said.

On the other end, Doutt then pulled down a defensive rebound and went 1-for-2 from the free throw line to stretch the lead to 49-44.

After West Albany made two free throws, McNary senior Paige Downer knocked down a pair of her own with 9.8 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

“The whole game was very intense and kind of out of control,” Doutt said. “We had some mental breakdowns on defense, which shouldn’t happen. I was very nervous but the whole time I felt like we would pull out a win. I had confidence that we would. We just needed to take care of the ball and be patient and not rush because their plan was to make us rush. They were hustling a lot and we needed to match that and we didn’t always. We need to work on that.”

The Lady Celts looked like they would run away from West Albany early, beginning the game on a 14-4 run. When the Bulldogs got within 16-12 early in the second period, Downer and Leah Doutt each scored two baskets to give McNary a 24-13 lead.

Kailey Doutt’s shot began to heat up in the second half as a 3-pointer and jumper put the Lady Celts on top 31-17. Doutt finished with 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half, to go along with 10 rebounds.

McNary led 37-26 when the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to get within 37-33 with 7:39 remaining in the game.

“West Albany plays hard,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “They hustle. They’re just really scrappy and that bothered us tonight. Their pressure and their defense, it bothered us and it was visibly bothering us out there on the court and we can’t let that happen. We were having problems offensively and we let that seep over into our defense. There were some possessions where we were leaving people open, just uncharacteristic things. We can’t do that.”

The Lady Celts also got in foul trouble.

Sabella Alfaro, who only played nine minutes, made a 3-point play with 4:11 remaining before fouling out with 1:40 to go. Leah Doutt also fouled out, with 3:38 remaining, finishing with four points, four rebounds and three blocks.

Senior Emma Kinler and freshman Mackenzie Proctor got more run off the bench. Kinler finished with four points and four rebounds. Proctor added two points and two steals. Downer scored nine points for the Lady Celts. Abbie Hawley added eight and four rebounds.

“It’s a good learning experience for us,” Doran said. “I’m glad we were able to eke out the win at the end. But it wasn’t a pretty basketball game. It did show our toughness that we were able to come back and not let that faze us and able to pull out the win.”