By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– McKay started Tuesday’s game the same way they ended Friday’s game versus North Salem, on a firey streak.
The Royal Scots jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind back-to-back three’s before McNary took a brief 9-6 lead three minutes into the game.
But McKay answered with a run, and following a Noah Tavera lay-up, led 18-12 after the Celtics took their lead as the Scots lead 21-16 after one quarter.
Coming out of the quarter break, the ‘Mc’ of Keizer switched up their defense on the ‘Mc’ of Salem as the Celts and Scots found themselves into a 26-all tie as McNary took full advantage of turnovers and made McKay foul them going to the hoop.
“The first quarter we had a lot of turnovers and they’re press,” said McNary’s Matthew Ismay. “They’re always tough with how they press, but I think we were just a little out of control playing fast, people getting into the air but after the first quarter we just really played well through the pressure.”
The Celtics continued to battle through the Scots press and McKay worked through the double-team’s McNary was tossing to the ball handler as both sides traded blows as it was 31-all a few possessions later with about three minutes to go in the half; but soon the Celtics began to pull away with a 42-34 halftime lead.
“We came out with the intensity, the hard work, you know I think we’re going through a runt where we give it all we got in the first half and for some reason it falls down in the second half,” said McKay’s Hayden Hull. “And you know, we got people who aren’t all in and we got to get them there.”
The Scots came out swinging to keep it to single-digits to start the second half as McNary continued to throw the Trap Defense at McKay’s Run-and-Gun offense and creating turnovers and turning them into points as the Scots shots hit it’s mark, but couldn’t fall through.
By quarter’s end, the eight-point Celtics lead evolved into a 22-point advantage with the score reading 66-44.
“I think the first starting five really brought out the intensity in the first half and they wanted to bring in the second half and we did and then we had a few people coming in that aren’t giving all we have,” said Hull. “You know we got them out and we got to get on them in practice. We got to stop having the coaches getting on us, it needs to be the players getting after players.”
McKay attempted to comeback in the final frame, but McNary shut the door early in the fourth to prevent such a feat as the Celts are slowing getting back into their rhtyhm after suffering three losses in four games during the span of January 17 and January 31 as they look to carry this momentum into practice leading into next Tuesday’s throwdown with South Salem.
“It was good, we had a stretch where I think we lost three out of five which is something we’re not used to,” said Ismay. “But these last two games, we came out with a lot of energy, a lot more than we have before. I think we got back on track.”
“I think it’s how we practice, practice hard cause now we have the energy, we have to keep it through playoff, that’s our next goal.”
As for the Scots, who have won twice in their last ten games, they’ll have yet another tough challenge versus a Sprague team that squeaked by West Salem Tuesday to take over the top-spot of the Greater Valley Conference; but McKay knows they can compete with the Olympians as they narrowly lost to them 98-93 on January 20.
“If we get everybody in these next two practices that we go all in and get Sprague,” said Hull. “I think we can get a win on them on Friday. We were right there the last time we played them, so we’ll bring the intensity the next time.
“I think if we play the same way we did and pressure them on our trap and give everything, everything we have. We always bring the intensity the first half and if we can carry it over to the second half, it should be a win for us.”
MCNARY SCORERS- Martin, A.-17. Ismay-17. Cavell-14. Goff-12. Garvey-11. Neitzel-7. Harvey-7. Martin, K.-2
MCKAY SCORERS-Joel-16. Beach-13. Tavera-12. Hull-9. Tovar-7. Castillo-5. Bangs-2.