Depth proves to be key in McNary victory

Nate Meithof rises up to shoot a 3-pointer in McNary’s 49-31 victory over Madison on Friday, Dec. 13 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

With some of their youth and inexperience, depth was thought to be question mark for the McNary boys basketball team coming into to the season. 

But the Celtics proved in their last home game that their entire roster has the ability to contribute on any given day. 

McNary played 13 guys on the night, nine of whom made it into the scoring column, as McNary recorded their third straight victory with a 49-31 win over Madison on Friday, Dec. 13. 

“There was one time where we had a freshman and four sophomores on the floor. When some of our older guys couldn’t get things going, those young guys really held onto and then extended the lead. I thought that was the big difference,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said.

McNary freshman point guard Jando Gonzalez led the Celtics with 13 points and knocked down a trio of shots from beyond the arc. 

“I’m not usually looking to score first. This team has a lot of talent offensively. We just moved the ball well and I was able to get some open shots,” Gonzalez said. 

Despite the relatively dominant victory, McNary’s 49 points was their lowest offensive output of the season — which was something that Kirch took full responsibility for. 

“I haven’t given them enough rest and that’s on me. I have done a poor job over the last few weeks spacing their rest,” Kirch said. 

The Celtics grabbed ahold of the momentum right from the get-go as Nate Meithof knocked down a baseline jumper and Riley Flores nailed a triple in the first 90 seconds of the contest. Jaime Ochoa soon followed with a fast-break layup after getting a steal, causing Madison head coach Chuck Matthews to use a timeout. 

Matthews burned another timeout just moments later after a 3-pointer by Gonzalez put the Celtics up 10-2 midway through the opening quarter. 

 Even though the Celtics fizzled a little after the opening minutes, their effort on the defensive end was non-stop. 

“When shots weren’t falling, our defense was still incredibly relentless and they made every single thing difficult,” Kirch said. 

“Our defense is looking great and that has been helping us win games. We help each other out and are constantly communicating,” Gonzalez added.

Gonzalez and Kyler Rodriguez each hit treys in the second period to extend McNary’s advantage to 24-8. Madison went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 10 at the half, but McNary responded in the third quarter with another Rodriguez triple and a pair of hoops from Tyler Copeland and Isaac Johnson, putting the Celtics up 35-19 entering the final quarter.

McNary put the game on ice in the beginning of the fourth period after a Gonzalez buried a 3-pointer, then found Ochoa for an easy layup after a steal from Zane Aicher, extending the Celtics lead to 21, their largest of the contest. 

“We learn something new every single game. We feel like we can mix and match a bunch of pieces and play at the pace that we want to,” Kirch said. “They just have to play to get that confidence.”