By MATT RAWLINGS
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary girls basketball team desperately wanted to break a six-game losing streak and give themselves some momentum heading into Mountainside Valley Conference play.
Thanks to some key buckets down the stretch, along with their tough defense, the Lady Celts got exactly what they were looking for.
Abigail Hawley led the way with a game-high of 15 points and Leah Doutt chipped in with 13 points as McNary came away with a 47-39 overtime road victory against McMinnville in their last non-league game of the season on Friday, Jan. 4.
“It was a great confidence builder for us,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “We have had a really tough non-league schedule, so that was a great way to finish it off. I think were in a good spot going into league (play).”
Each team struggled on the offensive end in the first half as both McMinnville and McNary shot under 30 percent from the field in the first 16 minutes. McMinnville, however, went 7-of-10 from the foul line in the opening half, which allowed them to take a 16-12 lead at the break.
McMinnville still clung to a four-point lead at 29-25 as the game entered the fourth quarter and even increased their lead to seven with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. But the Celtics finished the fourth period on a 9-2 run to tie the score at 37-all and force overtime.
Hawley knocked down a pair of free throws to start the extra session, which was followed by a big put-back hoop by Anna Leigh Besa on the next trip, putting the Celtics on top 41-39.
Hawley would add a clutch bucket, as well as another pair of free throws, to give the Celtics the six-point lead. Sabella Alfaro came through with a key basket moments later to help McNary outscore McMinnville 10-2 in the overtime.
“We were able to get to the basket and we just shot free throws a lot better towards the end of the game,” Doran said. “We stayed aggressive.”
Doran also commented on McNary’s tenacious defense that held McMinnville to just four points in the final seven minutes.
“The girls really buy into the scout and what were supposed to do against opposing personnel,” Doran said. “We play really hard on defense and our zone is looking a lot better.”
McNary will travel to West Salem tonight for a 7:15 p.m. contest.