By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Before entering the locker room, McNary head boys basketball coach Ryan Kirch stopped to compose himself.
This loss, 61-41 to Tualatin in the second round of the playoffs, clearly meant more.
“You feel bad for the guys,” Kirch said after the game on Saturday, March 3. “As a coach, I think of what I could have done differently and how I could have adjusted and put them in better situations. The kids work so hard for you. As a coach, you feel like you let them down and you couldn’t get them to where you felt like they deserved to be and that’s the toughest part.”
After a back and forth first half with five lead changes, McNary senior Lucas Garvey knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 29-25 lead with 6:55 remaining in the third quarter. But McNary didn’t score again in the period as Tualatin went on a 16-0 run.
“We had a tough time getting the ball inside,” Kirch said. “I thought the ball stuck in our hands a little bit. We didn’t move the ball as well as we would have liked. And defensively we didn’t guard. They attacked the basket hard on us. We had some poor decisions with the ball that led to some run outs.”
McNary was also plagued by foul trouble. Garvey and Andrew Jones both picked up their second fouls in the first quarter but were able to get to halftime without getting called for their third.
Garvey got his third foul with 5:29 remaining in the third period, just before the Timberwolves went on their run. Chandler Cavell picked up his third with 7:01 remaining in the game and his fourth less than 10 seconds later. Garvey was then called for his fourth 3 seconds later.
With McNary trailing 41-31, both stayed in the game. Garvey, after making a 3 and then a steal and layup to keep the Celtics within 47-38, fouled out with 4:30 left to play. Cavell then followed with his fifth foul with 3:29 remaining.
“I think they (Tualatin) were more aggressively offensively than we were and that puts officials in position to make the call,” Kirch said. “I don’t think we were as aggressive as we normally are offensively and that’s why we didn’t get as many whistles as they did. I thought there was a bunch of calls that could have gone either way and more went their way than ours. You’ve got to adjust to it and we didn’t adjust the way we wanted to.”
Riccardo Gardelli made a 3 to get McNary within 49-41 with 3:19 remaining but Tualatin went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 3 minutes to finish off the Celtics.
Garvey finished with 14 points. Jones had seven and Cavell added six.
McNary has lost in the second round of the playoffs four years in a row and hasn’t advanced to the state quarterfinals since 2004.
After the game, Kirch told his players to remember all the good times this season.
“As much as this stings right now, all the good that they’ve accomplished sits under that layer of what hurts and that hurt will go away after a while but what will remain is all those good things that they accomplished, on the basketball floor with winning a league championship, but more so playing with your friends, loving each other, playing for each other and with each other,” Kirch said. “This has been as rewarding a year for me to coach as I’ve had. I’m just disappointed. It all comes to an end so quickly.”
Kirch also told the Celtics to leave with their heads held high.
“They represented their families, they represented themselves, their school and this community incredibly well,” Kirch said. “They’re just great kids and great people. The families that have raised these kids have done a great job. Just to see the support, so many text messages and emails from so many people. I reminded the guys of how much impact they’ve had on this community and how awesome of an experience that is and how much I’m proud of them for that.”