By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary couldn’t play the spoiler role as McMinnville won 54-40 on Wednesday, Feb. 21 to at least share the Greater Valley Conference crown.
The win was the Grizzlies’ 12th in a row, dating back to Jan. 9.
McMinnville was also the only team in the GVC the Lady Celts weren’t able to beat this season after splitting with South Salem, Forest Grove and West Albany.
“It’s a bad matchup for us inside,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “They’ve got a big kid (Alix Williams) and they have the freshman (Kylee Arzner), who’s a tough matchup, too. She’s a really good pull up shooter, which we don’t see a lot, just reminding them to stay close when she dribbles, because she’s looking to pull up.”
McNary fell behind early as the Grizzlies took an 18-10 lead with a 3-pointer to begin the second period. McMinnville then banked in a 3 at the buzzer to extend its lead to 32-19 at halftime.
“In the first half we were kind of in a slump defensively and weren’t at help side like we should have been and getting out on shooters,” Doran said. “We’ve just got to communicate better defensively.”
The Lady Celts opened the second half on an 11-4 run to get within 36-30 with 3:49 remaining in the third but couldn’t get any closer.
“Credit to our girls they fought in the second half and we hung with them,” Doran said. “They’re a good team. They play extended zone which comes out and sometimes traps. We just struggle with the length and attacking that.”
After the game, McNary honored its three seniors—Kailey Doutt, Paige Downer and Emma Kinler.
“They’ve been great,” Doran said. “I had a fantastic first group of seniors to work with. They play really hard for me. They’re fun to be around. They’ve been great leaders. It’s been a good first year experience with senior leadership, especially when we had some younger kids on the team.”
Doutt led the Lady Celts in scoring with 16 points. Downer finished with nine. Sabella Alfaro also had nine and Abbie Hawley added six points.
The first round of the 6A girls state tournament begins Tuesday, Feb. 27. McNary will find out its opponent when the OSSA power rankings freeze Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10 p.m.