By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s seven sophomores, five of which played on the varsity as freshmen, spent last season getting out the nerves.

“At the beginning of last year I was terrified because being a freshman and starting I didn’t want to disappoint my team,” point guard Leah Doutt said.

Now, the young Lady Celts are ready to ball.

“I just feel more comfortable because this is my group now,” Doutt said. “A lot of our team is sophomores this year and we’ve been playing together for as long as I can remember. I feel like we have really good chemistry and we play well together. It should be fun.”

Thanks to the varsity minutes played last season, McNary will be young but not inexperienced.

“Normally when you have seven sophomores, almost everyone is new to varsity but we’ve got three of them ((Doutt, Mackenzie Proctor and Kennedy Buss) that played quite a bit last year,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “It helps a lot. When you’re dealing with young kids, the first time they’re playing varsity, there are a lot of nerves and there’s no way you can resolve that other than playing more minutes and that’s good that a lot of the sophomores have quite a few minutes under their belts”

Proctor gives the Lady Celts an outside shooting presence while Buss will provide toughness.

Rebekah Grimmer, another sophomore who played varsity last season, can shoot and play inside.

McNary returns two seniors in Abbie Hawley, who averaged more than nine points and three rebounds per game last season, and Sabella Alfaro, who averaged four points and more than four rebounds.

“I’m really excited for this year,” Alfaro said. “I can’t wait to watch us grow. We have a lot of young girls this year and I like teaching them. I love learning stuff from them at the same time. I’m going to definitely have to score more points this year. The biggest thing I’m going to have to offer this year is leadership.”

The Lady Celts have two juniors—Kyah Witherspoon and Regann Donahue, who returns after sitting out last year.

“That was a pleasant surprise that she came out,” Doran said. “We’re glad to have her. She’s a good athlete.”

With its lack of height, McNary will again play fast.

“We have to run people,” Doran said. “That’s no secret. We’re not a tall team. We have kids that can defend but we’re going to have to keep games full court to have success. We’re working on a lot of full court defense and pushing the ball in transition and turning it into a full court game. I want to get a lot of points out of our full court defense this year. I think that will be an area that we will be able to excel in.”

The Lady Celts open the season Thursday, Nov. 29 at home against Roosevelt.

The game tips off at 7 p.m.