By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– In between the third and fourth quarters McKay Girls Head Coach Jim White that his team worked too hard in this game against McNary to let this one slip away from them.
It’s been a few years since the Scots last win over the Celtics, but here they were, eight minutes away from their first win over McNary in a long time up 33-25 in McKay’s 53-48 win Tuesday night.
“I told them, ‘we worked too hard to let this slip away’,” said White on his speech to the team. “We let Barlow slip away. We let a West Salem slip away and now they realize that they can win. We may be out of the playoff picture but we put a hurt on them a little bit. That was our goal.”
The Celts sat at 30th in the State entering the Mountain Valley Conference game and with McKay at 45, a loss certainly would put a damper on McNary’s playoff hopes to host a play-in game or go straight into the bracket.
McNary fought and the Scot’s weakness this season has been finishing games. They saw a 12-point lead against Barlow slip away in the second half. McKay got West Salem’s lead to three back in early January at McKay before the Titans pulled away.
Arya Allen pushed the Scots lead to 46-36 with an ‘And-One’ with 3:19 left. But within the next 30 seconds the Celtics cut the lead to five after Sabella Alfaro got it down to 46-41 by the 2:42 mark of the game thanks to their defense. There was a sense of this game will be one of those games for McNary that they will remember moving into the twilight of the season.
“This game is definitely a wake-up call for us. I think in the future, we’re going to take this to heart,” said Alfaro, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds for McNary. “Just playing for four quarters straight, 32 minutes. We only showed up for one quarter I feel.
“This just shows that we need to play for 32 minutes or we’re going to fall behind.”
Alfaro points to them needing to use their speed that helped them turn a slow start into a seven-game winning streak in between January 4 and January 26 as they look to snap a four-game skid at Bend Thursday and when they host Sprague Friday.
While McNary took into account Leva Mike, Anita Lao stepped up for McKay scoring 12 points and grind out plays with Diana Cruz, Allen and Justine Coburn with the game coming down to who made their free throws as fouls became a factor in the fourth.
Mike went 9-for-10 down the stretch and the Scots needed her 1-for-2 performance with 1:16 left in the game to make it 49-44. Lao pushed it to 51-44 with free throws herself after Rebekah Grimmer cut the game to 48-44 moments earlier that helped pushed McKay towards the finish line.
Emotions were high for the Scots throughout the fourth and the win was indeed a memorable one with the squad winning their eighth-game of the season in the fashion that they did it in.
By finishing strong.
“It was a difficult game. Both of us were prepared to play and I felt like we battled well, we didn’t overlook them and didn’t underestimate ourselves,” said Lao. “We worked as a team and it really showed tonight.”
“It was really exciting. We don’t remember the last time McKay had beat McNary in girls basketball,” adds Mike who finished with 24 points. “We’re all just excited, we’re all shaking. We’re so happy. McNary beat all of the teams in our league before so that just shows us that we can do it too.”
Abbi Hawley had a team-high 18 points for the Celtics. McNary is at Bend Thursday while Mountain View travels over the hill to play McKay Friday afternoon.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald