With all three members of the backcourt scoring in double-figures a dominant performance on the glass and a stout defensive performance, McNary girls basketball opened league play in the Central Valley Conference with a dominant win against Sprague.
The Lady Celts’ (8-4, 1-0) swarming press, which has been a staple of their play this season, stifled the Olys’ (9-4, 0-1) offense as McNary held a double-digit lead for all four quarters of the eventual 50-28 win.
“That’s huge,” head coach Mike McShane said. “We have some goals we’ve been talking about all season and to come out on our home court with a good crowd and play hard, and execute, I thought the girls did all those things tonight. They played together.”
The defense totalled 13 steals, with an additional 23 deflections, keeping the Sprague offense at bay. Avery Buss led the team with 6 steals, adding another 4 deflections. KJ Custer led with 6 deflections, while coming away with 2 steals.
Sprague freshman guard Carly Skogstad was a focal point for the defense, according to McShane, calling her “a handful.”
“We really keyed in on her and did our best to make it hard for her just to get the ball,” McShane said. “And when she did get it, just stay with her and get some good help on her.”
Keeping Skogtad out of the flow certainly disrupted the Lady Olys’ offense.
Sprague came into Thursday night averaging 50 points per game this season, but were unable to even get a shot attempt up in the first two minutes of the game as the McNary defense trapped on the perimeter and clogged the lane from any drives.
And while defense leads to offense, as they often say, the McNary defense seems to lead to so much more for them on the court.
“It’s the biggest part of our identity,” McShane said. “It has to be all five people out there on the court playing it. It takes a lot of effort. Our girls, they’re really getting it and buying into that. So even when our offense isn’t clicking we can still depend on our defense to keep us competitive.”
Perhaps more impressive than the defensive performance was McNary’s rebounding. The Lady Celts had 35 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds in the first half.
“When we went over to Bend and played Summit we could have done a better job of hitting the offensive boards,” McShane said. “We spent some time in practice getting into our offensive rebounding positions and it paid off today.”
And it led to a balanced offensive attack for the Lady Celts, with 14 assists on 20 made field goals.
Ava Rubio led scorers with 13 points, shooting 50% from the field. She also collected 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Rubio’s backcourt mates Custer and Buss had 12 points and 10 points respectively. Custer filled out her statline with 5 rebounds, while Buss had 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Lady Celts are back on the court Tuesday for a non-conference game at Newberg High School at 5:45 p.m.