Lady Celts roll through Olys with highest margin of victory this season

With four starters scoring in double figures, the McNary Lady Celts dominated Tuesday night at Sprague.

The 75-32 final is the largest margin of victory for McNary (15-7, 7-2) on the year, the third win against Sprague (12-10, 3-7) by at least 20 points. It was the second highest point total this season for the Lady Celts, behind the 82 they scored against Century High School in the first game of the season.

“I just got out of the girls’ way,” head coach Mike McShane said. “I let them have a couple days off, let them rest up. I’ve really been impressed with how our girls have responded to adversity this year.”

They were coming off their only back-to-back losses so far this season, dropping a nail-biter at home to West Salem on Feb. 7 — a game McShane thought they played their best basketball of the year — and then a 48-25 loss at Canby High School Feb. 10 in a non-league game.

The turnaround was needed, as the Lady Celts head into the final stretch of the regular season closing out play in the Central Valley Conference.

“You’ve got to give the girls all the credit,” McShane said. “We’ve been asking them to be more mentally tough and play this game possession by possession. To not give anything away, and I think they did a good job of that tonight.”

They doubled up on the Olys score at the end of both the first and second quarters, going from an 18-9 lead to 42-21 at halftime.

But the third quarter was where they put their foot on the gas, outscoring Sprague 26-5 in the quarter, and only allowed 11 points in the entire second half.

“It’s a huge part of our identity, we hang our hat on man-to-man defense,” McShane said. “And when we have all five people buying in to getting down in a stance and communicating with each other, and moving together. We were following it like a flock of birds tonight.”

McShane also applauded his team’s effort in boxing out, another spot in the game he said doesn’t work if all five on the court aren’t doing it.

The only possible issue the Lady Celts had Tuesday came from their aggressive defense. They committed five fouls in the first quarter, sending the Olys to the line on four occasions, shooting 6-of-8 to keep the score close early on.

“I’m okay with them,” McShane said. “Our style of play lends itself to a faster pace and that’s when we’re at our most successful when our defense is creating offense. It’s when we’re out of position because we haven’t moved on the flight of the ball, now we’re trying to recover.”

McNary had a number of stat fillers Tuesday night. Avery Buss and Aubri Cabral each had 15 points. Buss added in eight assists, six rebounds and six steals. Cabral had six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Hailey Schwinof had a season high 14 points along with seven rebounds. Ava Rubio also had 14 points, with three steals and three assists.

McShane closed the game out with five players from the bench playing the fourth quarter, even extending the lead by one.

“That’s a positive thing for our program,” McShane said. “We want to get some of those girls that have done an excellent job on JV, the more minutes they can get varsity-wise then that’s going to really serve them next year. We were able to do that tonight and that’s a really good thing.”

The Lady Celts are back on the floor Friday when they host North Salem at 7:45 p.m.