McNary guard Gunner Smedema drives baseline in the Celtics 66-41 loss to Canby (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
The McNary boys basketball team came out flat in their season opener, and the senior-laden Canby squad made them pay.
The Cougars led by double-digits for most of the game, defeating the Celtics 66-41 on Friday, Dec. 10.
Jando Gonzalez and Evan Cornell each had 11 points for McNary.
McNary head coach Ryan Kirch was critical of his offense after the game, but believes that, in time, his relatively inexperienced squad can get on track.
“I don’t think we ran one thing correctly all night where all five guys were on the same page. We were out of rhythm and our shot selection was poor,” he said. “Everyone is still trying to figure out what their role is and where they fit in. We need to be more connected as a group with the way that we play, and that will come with more practice.”
After Gonzalez started the game with a 3-pointer on McNary’s first possession, Canby scored the next 20 points, making seven of the first eight shots, four of which came from three-point territory.
“I thought we were a little shell shocked to start,” Kirch said. “I just don’t think we were all engaged mentally in a way that we needed to be.”
With five players listed at 6-foot-4 and over, Canby had a significant height advantage over McNary, whose tallest player, Tyler Copeland, is 6’3. Despite the size mismatch, Canby did the majority of their damage from the perimeter, nailing 13 shots from behind the arc.
“There were certain guys that put good pressure on the ball, but overall we were out of position a lot,” Kirch said. “We just need to get better.”
The Celtics trailed 32-15 at the half, but showed new life to start the third quarter.
After Canby extended their lead to 19, McNary responded with an 8-1 run after a jump-hook by Copeland and a pair of triples by Gonzalez and Cornell.
Cornell hit two more 3-pointers in the quarter to cut the Canby lead to 11.
Kirch said that he told his guys at halftime to smile and have fun because “everybody was so tight and nervous and scared to make a mistake. We told them to not worry about the scoreboard and just play possession by possession. That is when you saw us get into a little bit of a rhythm.”
McNary was on the cusp of trimming the deficit to single digits, but the Cougars put the game away after scoring 13 of the next 16 points to end the period with a 51-29 advantage.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Kirch said that he saw some good signs from his team.
“You saw in spurts what we could do. We just have to work on how to make those spurts the continuous way that we play,” Kirch said.
The Celtics return home on Tuesday, Dec. 14 to take on Roseburg at 7 p.m.
Matt Rawlings: [email protected]