PAGE A8, KEIZERTIMES, MARCH 13, 2015 KEIZERTIMES.COM KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald Lady Celt Jaylene Montano guards against a Sprague player in a game earlier this season. Mon- tano is one of several players who will return for the Celts next season. Girls’ early lead crumbles in fi nal minutes at Clackamas KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald McNary’s Cade Goff shoves past a Sprague defender in a game earlier this season. The Celtics lost to North Medford High School 63-56 in the second round of the state playoff tournament Friday, March 6. Boys ousted in Medford By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The McNary High School boys varsity bas- ketball team ended its season with a 63-56 loss to North Medford High School Friday, March 6. The boys duked it out with the Black Tor- nadoes until the fi nal minutes of the game. “It was a one-point game with two minutes to go,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach. “In the end, we just missed a few shots that we normally make and North Medford didn’t. We missed 10-foot shots by our better shooters and North was 14-of-16 in the fourth quarter.” Kirch said the hardest aspect of the game, in which the teams traded leads for much of three quarters, was that it ended what had been a restorative season for the Celtics. “They are a tough team and our guys were well-prepared and fought hard. It was a good high school basketball game by two very good teams,” he said. In the four years since Kirch took over the program, McNary notched its fi rst wining sea- son last year. This year, they exploded onto the scene of an expanded Greater Valley Confer- ence. The Celts took a loss in early December to Tualatin High School and another to Leba- non High School later that month, but didn’t lose a conference game until late January. Earlier in the season, McNary took down the South Salem Saxons 67-62 in their own house for the fi rst time in years. South bounced Please see BOYS, Page A9 By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The Lady Celts began their fi rst round state playoff game with a 13-6 lead, but a scoring drought in the fourth quarter led to a 56-43 loss to Clacka- mas High School in girls var- sity basketball. “We were up fi ve at half- time and were able to stretch it to nine in the third quar- ter. Starting the fourth quar- ter we had a fi ve-point lead,” said Derick Handley, McNary head coach. “It was a 2 to 6 point game for most of the fourth quarter, but when we had to start fouling they made their free throws.” The loss ended the girls season, but Handley said the confi dence the team entered the game with wavered in the fi nal four minutes, giving the Cavaliers the victory and an advance to the second round. While the game didn’t fall in favor of the Celts, there were many good things hap- pening for McNary in the early going. Sophomore Syd- eny Hunter had 12 points by the half and fi nished the game with 16. Junior Madi Hings- ton wasn’t far behind with 14 points. “Lauren Hudgins did an amazing job on the Clacka- mas post, Peyton Carroll. She was their leading scorer this season, and Lauren held her to 9 points, most of which were than-rocky beginning. The free throws at the end of the season started with four losses, game,” Handley said. the last one to West Albany Handley, a fi rst-year head High School, which moved coach of the program, was up to the 6A Greater Valley most disappointed that the Conference this year. Since season closed just as the Mc- then, the team had six-win Nary girls were reaching their and four-win streaks in con- full potential. He is the third ference competition to fi nish head coach of the program in third in the GVC. The team’s four years. four losses were to eventual “They’ve bought in, and league champs South Salem there is a lot of confi dence High School and second place in this group West Albany. moving for- Handley ward that we “They’ve said losing the can be a com- team’s three petitive team at bought in … seniors is likely the state level. there’s a lot to be a blow For the coach- next season. es, we really of confi dence “Jasmine had the chal- in this group Ernest has de- lenge of get- veloped into a ting each girl moving forward.” fl oor general to fully under- and a great de- — Derick Handley, fender. Emma stand their role McNary head coach on the team. Jones was one For several of the hard- girls, like Kaelie Flores and est, if not the hardest working Madi Hingston, we changed players I’ve ever had the op- their role from what they were portunity to coach. And Lau- used to in years past. Without ren was really starting to fi nd Reina Strand, we needed both her groove again after sitting of those girls to become scor- out as a junior. We’ll defi nitely ing threats, and they defi nitely miss her size,” he said. did that for us,” Handley said. While those key roles will Strand has been sidelined be vacated, the long win with injury since last summer streaks allowed most of the and was a powerful presence up-and-comers ample time for McNary as a freshman and on the court. Not to mention, sophomore. the team’s leading scorers – The team had a more- Please see GIRLS, Page A9 Celt ‘Garbage Man’ is league’s top defender KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald Celt sophomore Mathew Ismay was named the Greater Valley Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year last week. He was also an all-league honorable mention. By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Earlier this season, Ryan Kirch, McNary’s head basket- ball coach, was watching fi lm with the team and let it slip that sophomore Mathew Is- may was the squad’s “garbage man.” “He gets offensive rebounds and put backs, easy lay-ins at the rim, gets to the free throw line. He does all the little things to put himself in those situations and he’s incredibly smart. He’s just a blue collar, hard working player – like a garbage man,” Kirch said. His teammates laughed, but the nickname stuck. From here on out, it might just be the nickname other players begin striving for. Ismay was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Greater Valley Conference last week. Ismay’s name is infrequently mentioned among the team’s top scorers, averaging a little less than six points per game. Take a look a little further down the line and the big pic- ture becomes clearer. Ismay had 88 rebounds this season, 38 assists and 24 steals. Ismay said defense has been his focus since joining the Celtic ranks. “It’s the part of the game that’s overlooked. If you let the person you’re guarding score more than you do on offense, it’s all for nothing,” Ismay said. “Part of it is athleticism, but most of it’s effort. One slip up and that’s it.” His approach and attitude have bred respect among team- mates and opponents, even though his role on the team could easily be overlooked. “The older players appreci- ate how he competes. Coach- es in the league consistently commented on how tough he is and how hard he works,” Kirch said. Ismay was also an honor- able mention in all-league se- lections, but he had his sights set on the defender award. “It means a lot to me. It was a surprise, but if there is an award I wanted that was the one,” Ismay said. As far as the future goes, he’d like to win it again, but he remains focused on being part of the team. “Being league champions again is more important right now,” he said.