By Jeremy McDonald
OREGON CITY, Ore.– They knew walking in they were the underdog.
The records were nearly identical, McNary at 17-7 and Oregon City at 16-8 but the Lady Celtics were the 20th seed to the Lady Pioneers 13th; but with the experience coming back from Oregon City’s second-place finish from last season, it’s understandable to see why there was a slight advantage.
But, McNary didn’t let that get in their way. They found a way to compete and fight their way to stay in contention.
Down 14-8 in the second quarter Paige Downer scored five-straight points to get back into the game as Sabella Alfaro eventually tied it at 18 with 2:54 left in the opening half as the Celts found themselves down 23-20 by halftime.
“I think we came into the game knowing that we were kind of the underdogs,” said Leah Doutt. “We knew they were a higher-ranked team, so we just wanted to give it our all knowing that is could possibly be the last time we’ll be on the court together. So we just wanted to leave it all out there.”
McNary kept fighting even when their shots weren’t falling during the middle part of the third quarter, but they turned a 37-28 deficit that saw Alfaro convert on an ‘And-One’ and Kailey Doutt 1-for-2 at the line as they built some momentum into the early part of the fourth quarter.
Abby Hawley described them fighting as the fuel from knowing they were the underdogs in this contest.
“That kind of fueled our fire a little bit and we knew we could just work hard and we knew we could beat this team,” said Hawley. “I think we had the ability to do it but it came down to the last four minutes in the fourth quarter and we got tired , but I saw the strength in my team tonight and fighting.”
During the closing minutes of the game, the fatigue of going up against the physicality of the Lady Pios showed in the Lady Celtics play a little. The shots weren’t falling either as Oregon City began to pull away though McNary didn’t give up until the final buzzer.
The younger Doutt said it stemmed from the senior class and their leadership lead by the older Doutt, Downer and company as Leah Doutt, Alfaro, Hawley and company take the reigns next year.
“It’s really sad because I’ve been growing up watching all the seniors play like my sister. It’s just been a really good experience this year just getting to play with them because I really looked up to them all my years since I was a little kid. It’s hard for me but I’m excited to see what they’re going to do in the future,” starts the younger Doutt.
“They brought a lot of leadership to this team and it really helped me especially since I don’t like to be vocal on the court and next year I’m going to have to step up to the guard position and Paige was a really good example for me being a leader out there on the court.”
For Hawley, as they take over next year, there’s a sense of confidence as they enter year two of the Elizabeth Doran-era.
“For me, it just helps cause I need to fill that gap and I can bring my team up and do what I need to do and fill what they left,” said Hawley.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald