By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary overcame an ugly second quarter to defeat West Salem 52-38 on Friday, Jan. 5.

After jumping out to a 12-2 lead, the Lady Celts struggled to score, not making their first and only field goal of the second period until 50 seconds remaining to tie the game at 16-16.

A West Salem free throw then gave the Titans a 17-16 lead entering halftime.

“The second quarter they really got on the offensive rebounds and we had to box them out because they’re a lot taller than us,” McNary senior Paige Downer said. “That was a big focus for us coming into the second half. And really pushing the ball up. We know we’re faster than them. We have speed, quickness and good shooters so we tried to get the ball up quicker and just create shots for our teammates.”

McNary also had to play much of the second quarter without leading scorer Kailey Doutt, who picked up her second foul with 2:32 remaining in the first period.

Doutt then picked up her third foul with 6:03 left to play in the third.

Senior Emma Kinler came off the bench to tie the game at 21-21 on a three-point play. Sabella Alfaro then gave the Lady Celts a 25-23 lead.

“It definitely hurts because she’s mostly our go to,” Downer said of playing without Doutt. “We know we can rely on her to score a big bucket when we need it. People have to step up though. We need someone else on the court to step up and take the initiative.”

After West Salem grabbed the lead again on a layup off a McNary turnover, Downer made two free throws to put the Lady Celts back on top 28-27. A jump shot by freshman Mackenzie Proctor stretched the lead to 30-27 with 1:38 remaining and McNary never looked back.

The Lady Celts outscored West Salem 20-11 in the fourth quarter.

Downer led the Lady Celts with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Alfaro added 10 points and five rebounds. Emma Kinler gave McNary a boost on the boards, pulling down six rebounds to go a long with seven points. Leah Doutt had seven points, four rebounds and four assists. Kailey Doutt had nine points and three rebounds.

“The scoring was very even tonight,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “That’s great to see. That’s something that we really haven’t had, a lot of people contributing in scoring and today it was more people contributing, which was awesome.”

After playing too much one-and-one ball in the second quarter, the Lady Celts did a better job of distributing in the second half.

“They (West Salem) made a run and we were back on our heels and turned into more of a one-on-one game,” Doran said. “We talked to them about that at halftime, getting the best shot that we can get as a team instead of trying to go one-on-one.”