Despite making a season-high nine 3-pointers, McNary boys basketball was unable to find an answer for West Salem Thursday night, losing 74-62 in a matchup of the top two teams currently in the Central Valley Conference.
The Celtics (10-6, 2-2) came back from a slow start, going down 8-0 early to the Titans (9-6, 4-0), even taking a one-point lead for a brief moment in the second quarter.
But the West Salem offense was efficient, shooting 57% from the field, but it was a 23 point fourth quarter that sealed things for the Titans.
McNary seemed to have no answer defensively in the final eight minutes. Five players scored for West Salem in the fourth quarter, and they knocked down 7-of-8 free throws in the quarter.
Jackson Leach scored 9 of his 21 points in the fourth for the Titans, while his teammate Jimmy Lathen led all scorers with 27.
Brody Roth led the way for the Celtics with 21 points, 16 coming in the second half. Roth started slow, going 0-for-4 in the first quarter, and headed into halftime 2-for-8 shooting. In the second half Roth shot 70%, helping to keep the Celtics in the game.
He matched Leach’s 9 points in the fourth, but Jando Gonzalez’s 5 points were the only other points for McNary in the final stretch.
Gonzalez finished with 14 points on 3-for-8 3-point shooting. It was two Gonzalez 3s that woke the Celtics’ offense up in the first quarter.
This is the first time this season the Celtics have dropped back-to-back games after losing at South Salem on Jan. 16 60-59.
They’ll be back in action for another CVC matchup when Sprague visits McNary on Jan. 23 for the second meeting between the two this year. McNary won the first game at Sprague on Jan. 5 62-55.