Nepstad shines on senior night

Kylie Nepstad gets to the hoop to score two of her 17 points, leading McNary to the victory in her final home game as a member of the Celtics (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

In her final home game for the Celtics, Kylie Nepstad concluded her McNary career on a high note.

The senior shooting guard led McNary with 17 points and was 5-of-9 from beyond the arc as the Celtics routed Sprague on senior night, defeating the Olympians 51-12 on Monday, Feb. 21.

“I really appreciate my teammates always playing hard and finding me for open threes. It was a lot of fun. I just played with a lot of confidence tonight,” Nepstad said. “It has been an amazing four years. I have loved it and I appreciate all my teammates and my coaches.”

Nepstad, who has played on the varsity team for three years, led McNary in scoring with nearly 11 points per game this season and shot more than 40% from three-point territory.

“Kylie has had a phenomenal senior season. She really stepped up and she has played phenomenally on both offense and defense. She has been a real leader on the team. It has been great to see her grow as a player and step into this leadership role,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said.

Back-to-back hoops by Ava Rubio, followed by a triple from Nepstad, put McNary up 9-2 in the early going. Another bucket by Rubio, plus a tough layup from KJ Custer, extended the Celtics lead to 13-4 at the end of the opening period.

Despite going through a three-minute scoreless streak in the second quarter, McNary was able to put the game out of reach before the half. Aubrianna Cabral broke the drought with a layup off a backdoor cut, then Hailey Schwinof got her first hoop to put McNary up 17-5.

After Lillian Besa scored in the post and Nepstad put in a floater, Custer capped off the 14-1 run with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Celtics the 27-6 lead at the half.

“This was a great way to end it. We were playing well together on both ends of the court. Everything clicked for us tonight,” Doran said.

On defense, the Celtics forced 20 turnovers and held Sprague to their lowest point total since 2014.

“We were just active on defense and were always getting in front of passes,” Nepstad said.

“Our defensive effort was great. We pressured the ball and we were in the right spot on the help side for most of the game,” Doran added.

With a massive lead on the scoreboard, Doran got the chance to play all 13 players on the roster, including senior Jordan LaGrone, who scored her first basket as a member of the varsity team on a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the final quarter.

“It was a fun game and it was fun to have all the seniors and everyone who played contribute in some way,” Doran said.