Shorthanded Lady Celts can’t get offense going

Mackenzie Proctor challenges a Westview defender at the hoop. Proctor had seven points in the Celtics 52-28 loss (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

McNary’s girls basketball team has had their offensive struggles to open up the season, and those hard times continued for the Celtics in their matchup with Westview.

The Celtics kept things close in the first quarter, but they had difficulty dealing with Westview’s defensive pressure in the backcourt as the Wildcats were able to pull away for the 52-28 victory on Friday, Dec. 13.

It was the fourth straight game McNary was held to 30 points or fewer

“I thought the girls did a pretty good job of executing defensively what we are trying to do. But we are struggling with our press break and we’re working really hard every day to get better at that,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “We need to do a better job of putting pressure on the defense. We need our girls to be a threat with the ball.”

The main reason the McNary is going through their offensive woes is likely due to the fact they are without their star point guard Leah Doutt — who has missed the first four games of the season due to injury. Doutt is one of the top returning scorers and ball-handlers in the Mountain Valley Conference. 

Fortunately for the Celtics, Doutt is scheduled to return within the week, according to Doran. 

“I always knew Leah was a special player, but this really does show how much she influences the game on both ends of the court for us,” Doran said. “We’ve got to take care of the basketball, and a lot of times that pressure falls on Leah and she does a good job of handling it and getting the ball up the court. Other teams know she’s out, so they are likely to us.”

Grace Carr and Mackenzie Proctor started off the first period with back-to-back 3-pointers, but McNary couldn’t muster any additional offense in the quarter after cutting the Westview lead to one at 7-6. 

The Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to extend their advantage to 19-6. A layup from Proctor ended the spurt with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter — McNary went nearly 10 minutes without a hoop during that stretch. 

Despite a jumper from Rebekah Grimmer and a crafty scoop-and-score by Annie Leigh Besa. The Celtics still trailed 26-14 at the break. 

Westview continued to build their lead well into the second half, leading by as many as 27 at one point in the final period.

But even with the lopsided defeat, Doran isn’t discouraged about where her team is. 

“I do think we are progressing and getting better every game, which is all I can ask out of them right now,” Doran said. 

The Celtics return home to take on Central Catholic on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m