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Big first half propels Celts to victory


Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s Boston Smith wasn’t sure if he was going to go in this one.

The senior post banged up his knee in the Celtics 73-63 overtime loss to Sprague on Thursday, Jan. 24 and was deemed a game-time decision for Saturday’s contest against Mountain View.

Despite not being at 100 percent, Smith decided that he needed to come through for his team.

“I knew that me playing would be a huge impact,” Smith said. 

Smith led the way with a game-high 23 points — 15 of which came in the second half — and propelled the McNary boys hoops team to a 74-60 victory over Mountain View.

“(Mountain View) was keying on me in the first half, but I was able to stay calm and let things come to me,” Smith said. 

Griffin Oliveira had 12 points for the Celtics and knocked down four shots from behind the arc. Noah Hudkins also scored 12 for McNary.

Hudkins was the one that got it going to start the game. After getting an easy hoop thanks to a beautifully set up pick-and-roll, Hudkins buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put McNary on top 12-6.

Hudkins and Smith would each convert lay-ups moments later to extend McNary’s advantage to 16-6.

“It felt good to go out there and just run and get it going,” Hudkins said. “I think I just came out with a different mindset and I played with an aggressive attitude.”

The Celtics kept their lead at 10 to end the quarter after Nate Meithof concluded the period with a left-handed flush off a steal.

A bucket in the paint from Junior Walling, plus a baseline triple from Oliveira gave McNary the 29-15 lead early in the second quarter. Mountain View came back with an 8-2 run to get the deficit down to single-digits, but the Celtics would respond with a run of their own.

Riley Flores, Alfredo Villareal and Oliveira all knocked treys during McNary’s 11-0 scurry, which extended the McNary lead to 42-23.

Whether it was hitting open shots from the perimeter or getting easy buckets down low, the McNary offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders in the first 16 minutes of the contest.

“We have a lot of guys that can make plays,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “We want to play an inside-out game and we trust our big guys to move the basketball around when they are doubled-teamed.”

The Celtics went into the break up 46-27, but late in the period, Smith had to be attended to on the sideline after appearing to re-aggravate the injury on his right knee. 

Smith came out to start the third quarter with a knee brace, but the pain he was in didn’t seem to effect his production as he scored three buckets in the paint and ended the period with nine points. 

“(Smith) was dominant inside,” Kirch said. “He is a really mature kid and his leadership has been great.”

The Celtics did a poor job of taking care of the basketball in the final period, which allowed Mountain View to make the score a little more respectable. 

Kirch hopes that his team will clean up on the turnovers as the Celtics head into the second half of their Greater Valley Conference schedule, but he was ultimately pleased with how his team performed overall. 

“Obviously, we need to get a little bit better closing out games, but I’m proud of the way they played,” Kirch said.

McNary hosts Summit at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.