Celts go cold Monday night

Cold nights are something you get accustomed to in the Pacific Northwest. But not the ice cold shooting night McNary boys basketball had Monday.

For nearly 15 minutes — close to two full quarters of play — the Celtics (9-4) went without a made field goal against Oregon City in the eventual 62-25 loss. 

It was something that head coach Ryan Kirch hadn’t seen in all his time coaching.

“Honestly, in 21 years of coaching I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Kirch said. “We just couldn’t make a shot. I didn’t even know what to say to our guys. Immediately we just want to move on.”

With just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Pioneers took the lead for the first time in the game. The Celtics quickly took it right back, but that would be the last basket they would make until the 6:35 mark of the fourth quarter.

In that time, the score swung from a McNary one point lead, to Oregon City with a commanding 30 point advantage.

The Celtics only scored two points in that time, a pair of free throws from Jando Gonzalez in the third quarter which broke a scoreless streak of more than eight minutes. 

Things didn’t start out poorly for the Celtics, but once things went south it all snowballed.

“In the first half I thought our game plan was good,” Kirch said. “In the first half we just missed some shots and we did a good job defensively.”

In the first quarter, McNary controlled the start. Two 3-pointers for the Pioneers cut the early lead. Much of the Oregon City scoring in the first quarter came as a result of the McNary defense’s over pursuit of 50/50 balls, leaving Oregon City shooters open.

“That’s exactly what our pregame talk was about, we want to make teams score over us,” Kirch said. “I thought there was a number of times where we didn’t get a loose ball or we gambled when we didn’t need to. Good teams make you pay.”

In all, Oregon City hit six 3-pointers in the first half, and another four in the second. 

Even with an early lead, the Celtics were unable to really get into a zone and look comfortable. The full-court press that they used so effectively in the early part of the season wasn’t there. 

“You’ve got to score to press,” Kirch said.

And on the offensive end, the length and rim protection of the Pioneers kept the Celtic offense from scoring. 

With a number of blocks at the rim and hands in shooters’ faces, the Celtics finished just 11-for-35 from the field, hitting only 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, and just 2-for-8 on free throws. 

Coming into the night, the Celtics had averaged 62 points per game and 25 rebounds. The Pioneers kept the Celtics off the scoreboard and the glass, holding them to only 10 rebounds Monday night.