By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary cruised into the second round of the 6A boys basketball state playoffs with a 71-46 win over Sherwood on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Sherwood, the No. 28 seed in the state tournament, battled No. 5 McNary early but Riccardo Gardelli and Chandler Cavell made back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the first half and the Celtics went into intermission with a 27-17 lead.
“I thought we came out hard,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “I thought we were a little rushed early on but as always we hang our hat on our defense and rebounding and I thought we did a really nice job, particularly in the first half defending. We shared the ball a little bit better in the second half and we were able to extend our lead.”
McNary outscored the Bowmen 18-10 in the third quarter to take command of the game and lead 45-27 entering the fourth.
“Once the rhythm of the game gets going, our guys fall into a habit of just continuing to move the ball and having good spacing and being able to get the shots we want, whether it’s Chandler attacking or kicking out to Lucas (Garvey) or Ricky,” Kirch said. “The floor was really well spaced. I thought we did a better job spacing the floor in the second half. When we do that and share the ball we’re pretty tough to defend.”
Cavell led the Celtics with 24 points, including 13 in the first half. Gardelli scored 16 points, making four three-pointers, and Garvey added 13 points in the rout.
“Especially in the second half, we started to share the ball a lot more and play better defense,” Cavell said. “I know they didn’t have a lot of made field goals. We gave them a lot of free throws which we’ve got to work on but they didn’t have a lot of made shots. I think we guarded well and that was a big difference.”
Sherwood shot 9-for-14 from the free throw line in the second half and made 13 field goals.
McNary junior Boston Smith missed the game with mononucleosis. Junior Walling started in his place.
“For a guy that was playing JV at the beginning of the year, to get his first varsity start in a playoff game, is pretty impressive,” Kirch said of Walling. “The thing we love about him is he’s just going to compete hard for you. You don’t need him to score a lot of points. You just need him to defend and rebound. He’s going to go as hard as he can the entire time and he gave us really good minutes tonight.”
The Celtics will host No. 12 Tualatin Saturday at 7 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals at the Chiles Center in Portland. Tualatin plays in the Three Rivers League with Sherwood and lost to the Bowmen 53-45 on Jan. 26 before getting revenge with a 63-58 victory on Feb. 22 to close out the regular season.
McNary and Tualatin already met earlier this season with the Celtics winning 72-58 on Dec. 27.
“I don’t want to get a false sense of confidence because a lot of times this year we’ve played teams the second time around that we beat by a lot and it’s been a lot closer so we’ve just got to come ready to play,” Cavell said.