By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
The Greater Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year award is staying with McNary.
Senior Andrew Jones was voted the top defender by the league’s coaches.
“That’s a pretty special award because there’s only one guy in the league out of nine teams and there’s a lot of good players in our league,” Jones said. “It wasn’t really my goal to win defensive player of the year. It was just my goal to play the best defense I could play every game. Just really having a commitment to defense helps because not a lot of guys want to play defense and if you can play defense it helps your team a lot more.”
Matthew Ismay, a 2017 McNary graduate, had won the previous three defensive player of the year awards.
“When you have a guy like Matt in your program and you can just see how hard he works on defense and how much better he makes the team on defense, I always admired him for that and I always wanted to be the best defender on the team because I knew that if I could play really good defense and I could shut down the best player on the other team it would give us a better opportunity to win more games,” Jones said.
McNary has prided itself on playing tough defense. The Celtics allowed 53.5 points per game this season, fourth best in the state at the 6A level.
“It means a lot to me because we base our program on defending and rebounding and it’s hard to get a lot of guys to commit to that these days,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “We hold our hat on that. We spend a lot of time. Guys take a lot of pride in that. Whether the shots are going in or not, you can always guard. It’s an effort thing. It’s a toughness thing. Competitiveness and toughness are the top two things we value and we see that in defending and rebounding.”
McNary senior Chandler Cavell was unanimously selected to the All-GVC First Team. He led the Celtics in four categories—16.5 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals.
“He’s matured so much as a person and as a player,” Kirch said of Cavell. “He’s been a great passer, a great teammate, a great leader, a great rebounder. He just does everything on the floor. He’s a guy you can’t take off the floor. He can hurt you in so many different ways. I can have him handling the ball. I can post him up. I can put him on the wing. You can ask him to run an offense. He’s just been invaluable and his attitude has just been outstanding all year long and he’s really led by example.”
Lucas Garvey, who averaged 12.9 points per game, was also voted to the First Team. Jones and Boston Smith were selected to the Second Team. Riccardo Gardelli was honorable mention.
“I was so happy to see so many of our guys being recognized by other coaches,” Kirch said. “I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about my players but when other coaches recognize them. It’s an impressive group. It’s been an impressive year.”
Kirch and Jordan Graneto were voted head coach and assistant coach of the year.
“That’s a staff award,” Kirch said. “As the head of the staff, that puts my name on it but really it’s a staff award. Our coaches have done a great job. If there’s one thing I’ve done right, it’s hire good coaches around me. Coach Graneto has done a great job. Coaches are doing so many different things that fans don’t see.”