By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– There was no quit for the McNary Boys Basketball team in Wednesday’s Central Valley Conference opener with Sprague on the road. Raising to the occasion faced with two large deficits in a hostile environment, the Celtics found a way to calm the noise and fought through the pressure through Overtime as they came out victorious 62-55 on this day.
Down 23-8 in the first half, they rallied for a 32-31 lead with 1:45 left in the third quarter following a made Steven Adams shot. But over the course of the next two minutes of game play however, Sprague’s Liam Spencer went off for the next 11 Olympian points, with his defensive support behind him Sprague looked as if they were about to rebuild that double-digit lead once more up 42-34 15 seconds into the final frame.
Young team no more playing in their 13th game of the season, they were looking to hand McNary just their fourth defeat of the season as they sustained their energy up 50-45 following Matt Wiener’s lay-in. And seeming like they would do as the Celts couldn’t find that one last gear until they did.
“Just not getting discouraged, not getting up and stuff. Taking opportunities when they were there and giving it our all, all the time,” McNary’s Brody Roth said. “We had some turovers for sure, but later on we pulled it out. It was good. It was great, it showed us not to give up. It doesn’t matter what the first quarter looks like, first half looks like. Down by ten.
“We weren’t prepared in the first half and in the second half, we just came out and gave it our all with energy and stuff.”
Roth finished with 21 points, 17 coming in the second half and Jando Gonzalez contributed another 13 for a Celtic squad that found that last fifth gear. Leaving it out there as they eventually tied it up at 52 and kept Sprague’s last second drive at the hole from falling with some incredible paint presence. Breaking up Spencer’s pass to Jake Horn at the buzzer to ensure the game went to extra time where McNary jumped on it and put an exclamation point on the opening night of the CVC play in Salem.
Licking their wounds from a heartbreaking defeat, the Olys know it’s only the first game of a long league season that will feature them seeing each CVC team three times over the span of the next month or so. Spencer finished with 18 points, 11 coming in the second half during that run. Horn contributed another 17 that featured eight in the first quarter of the game with Sprague traveling to North Salem on Monday before hosting South Salem next Thursday.
“We’re going to be fine, it’s the first league game and we got what? 12 more? We’re good, I’m not worried about us at all. We got a good, strong team,” Spencer said. “I thought we did great, we executed well all game. We kept the lead all game, last play (of regulation) didn’t go our way, but it happens. We’ll be fine, we’ll play them two more times. It was a good game, it was a great game.”
McNary host Oregon City in a non-league match-up Monday evening at 7pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald