By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—Down by three points with 30 seconds to go, McNary had a shot at South Salem, just no one would take it.

After passing the ball around the 3-point line for nearly 25 seconds, Saxons freshman point guard Hilary James stole it, knocked down one of two free throws and the Lady Celts fell on the road 39-35 on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“We’ve had very few end of the game situations,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “We wanted to get to the basket if we could and draw contact, score quick.You’ve got to want it at the end of the game. You can’t be passive. We made five or six passes and we had open shots and nobody wanted it right at the end.”

The Lady Celts trailed 34-28 with 4:12 remaining in the game when Kailey Doutt made a free throw and Abbie Hawley knocked down a 3-pointer to get McNary within 34-32. Doutt then hit a jump shot to tie the game at 34-34 with 1:43 to go.

After South Salem made two free throws, Doutt went 1-for-2 from the line. The Lady Saxons then missed the front end of an one-and-one but McNary couldn’t grab the rebound. South Salem made two more free throws to stretch its lead to three points with 30 seconds remaining.

Getting out-rebounded against South Salem, which had five players taller than anyone on the Lady Celts, was a problem for McNary all night.

“They had 16 rebounds in the second half and we had 19 the whole game,” Doran said. “They do have a size advantage but rebounding is about heart, too. You’ve got to get in there and rebound. You can’t just take one shot and that be the possession.”

The Lady Celts led for most of the first quarter before South Salem began to take control in the second and led 30-23 at halftime.

“We started the ball game pretty well and we had a streak there towards the end but we’ve got to put four quarters together,” Doran said.

McNary didn’t score in the final 4 minutes of the second quarter.

“They got into an extended zone on us and we wanted to get to the high post area,” Doran said. “We were just being a little too passive. We let their extension and their arms out kind of bother us and we weren’t making the passes that we wanted to make.”

Doutt scored 18 points to lead the Lady Celts. Hawley added 12. No one else scored more than three.

The top 16 teams in the OSAA power rankings host a first round playoff game. McNary entered the game 15th but dropped to 17th with the loss. The Lady Celts final two games are at No. 29 West Salem on Friday, Feb. 16 and then at home on Tuesday, Feb. 20 versus No. 12 McMinnville.

“These next two games are huge,” Doran said. “We’ve got to regroup and take care of a couple things defensively and rebounding wise and take care of business these next two games. We’ve got to enjoy, too. The end of the season is wrapping up and we’ve got some seniors that have played four years. We’ve got to have fun and play together these last two league games. We’ve just got to fight together and have fun while we’re doing it, too.”