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Day: March 3, 2014

Lady Celts in hunt for tourney title

 

Lady Celt Cammie Decker is congratulated by teammates as she exits the court after draining her fourth three-pointer against Sprague. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Lady Celt Cammie Decker is congratulated by teammates as she exits the court after draining her fourth three-pointer against Sprague. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

If there’s one lesson the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team took away from its 90-40 win over Sprague High School, it was this: it’s good to have goals.

“We had a goal of getting 80 points when we got in and we made it to 90. We were so set on getting that goal,” said senior Ashlee Koenig.

Five McNary players made it to double-digits in the outing Tuesday, Feb. 18. The Lady Celts were led by Cammie Decker’s 17 points that included four three-pointers. McNary never scored less than 21 points in any quarter, leaving little mystery as to what the outcome would be after the first quarter.

“Our shots were dropping and we communicated really well. It was the first time that we ran our plays well,” said Lady Celt Baili Keeton, the team’s other senior. “Sometimes we get caught off guard when a team isn’t at our level, but this time we did a good job of keeping our focus.”

Behind Decker, Koenig had 13 points, Sydney Hunter and Kaelie Flores had 12 apiece, Madi Hingston had 10, Reina Strand had eight, Emma Jones put in six, Keeton had five and Jaylene Montano had two.

The win over Sprague advanced the Celtics to the second round of the Central Valley Conference tournament to decide seeding headed into the state tournament.

The team faced West Salem High School for the second time in two weeks Thursday, Feb. 20.

The Titans scored a home court 55-35 victory in the teams’ most recent contest, but that only fueled the fire of the Celtics.

“We were frustrated by not beating them the week before and we were so hyped up in the locker game,” Keeton said. “The team was on a steady high throughout the game instead of going up and down.”

McNary won 55-52 and held off a late-game rally by the Titans to advance to the tournament finals Tuesday, Feb. 25.

“This time we were all determined and we came in super pumped. There was an energy there that carried over from the Sprague win,” Koenig said.

The teams were neck-and-neck after the first frame, but the Celts pulled ahead by five points on an 8-0 run to go into halftime with a 30-25 lead.

“The prior week,we didn’t shoot the ball well and this time they didn’t shoot the ball well while we shot really well,” said Paul Pickerell, McNary head coach. “We came out with a lot of intensity and played really good half-court defense.”

The Celts shot 24 of 57 from the paint and had 12 blocks to secure the win.

Keeton led all scoring with 18 points, Flores had 13, Strand had eight, Hunter had six, Hingston and Koenig had four each and Jasmine Ernest had two.

The win over West set up the Celtics to face South Salem High School for the tournament title Tuesday, Feb. 25. McNary’s last game with the Saxons ended with only five points separating the two teams.

“This is an opportune time to play them. It’s a great game to have right before playoffs,” Pickerell said. “We’ve played them close and stayed competitive with them. Last time we had them on the ropes and couldn’t hold them. This time, we can take that one extra step and finish them off.”

Pickerell said he’ll be looking to Keeton to lead the team.

“She’s been scoring well, passing the ball well and she’s always bringing a lot of energy on defense,” he said.

Koenig said it will come down to which team does all the little things right.

“We have to communicate like we did against West Salem and make all our lay-ins and free throws. South is a really good team and they do the small things like that,” Koenig said.

Progress made in Rawlins-city case

File photo
File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

An agreement between city leaders and attorneys for the Rawlins family could be coming soon.

The battle regarding 16 acres of land in Keizer Station owned by Timm and Linda Rawlins has been going on for nearly a decade, as mentioned in recent Keizertimes articles.

According to a recent timeline from Keizer city attorney Shannon Johnson, the Rawlinses purchased the property in question for $139,500 in 1994. In 2008, the city imposed a Local Improvement District (LID) fee of $6.7 million on the property.

Developer Chuck Sides with Northwest National LLC made LID payments to the city on behalf of the Rawlinses until the summer of 2010. Sides said last week he was also making rent payments for the properties to the Rawlinses “until last month.”

Due to the lack of LID payments, city officials initiated foreclosure proceedings on the properties last year. The issue has been in court since then, while the Rawlinses also contacted state legislators to initiate proposed new legislation – specifically, House Bill 4017 – to address the situation.

A summary judgment is expected to be issued in Marion County Circuit Court on March 10. Lonn Johnston, attorney for the Rawlins family, said progress is being made.

“I can’t give a comment on any terms,” Johnston told the Keizertimes on Tuesday. “I haven’t seen any form of agreement. We have a conceptual agreement, but nothing binding. That means we have a term sheet that we agree on, but the city will have to have a public hearing.”

That is indeed happening. On Tuesday morning, Johnson placed a legal advertisement with the Keizertimes for a notice of public hearing regarding the option of sale of property. The hearing will take place Thursday, March 6 at noon in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road NE.

While the Rawlins name is not mentioned in the notice, the two tax lot numbers listed are indeed the Rawlins properties.

“The city will consider if the property has public use or should be optioned to be sold,” the notice reads in part. “It is necessary or convenient to enter into an option of sale of the property to allow the city to avoid the costs of further litigation and maintenance of the property.”

The issue has been the topic of recent Keizer City Council executive sessions. Johnson declined to comment publicly on the matter.

Johnston, meanwhile, indicated the Rawlinses want to work with city officials.

“I know my clients are looking forward to moving forward as a partner with the city, not as an adversary,” he said. “My clients’ desire is to see the adversarial stuff behind them. They want to try to ensure things move forward with their property in a manner positive and helpful for everyone involved.”

In a recent meeting with legislators, both Johnson and Keizer City Manager Chris Eppley warned Keizer citizens would have to pay for the remainder of the bonds for the foreclosed properties.

“It’s real easy to feel sorry for the Rawlinses when they come up here,” Johnson said Feb. 11. “But there’s 37,000 people who live in Keizer and they’re the ones that are going to be paying the tab.”

Eppley said the Rawlinses made a profit but are turning to taxpayers for relief now that the tide has turned.

“After the proposal goes bad, they want the 37,000 citizens of Keizer to offer them a safety net or buyout,” Eppley told legislators. “I am sympathetic to the Rawlinses. I wish there was a way to resolve this. But this has been dragged out. The citizens of Keizer are on the hook more and more each day.

“I ask you to turn away from this folly,” Eppley added. “The piece (of legislation) that’s left is incredibly silly. I can’t imagine we’re here to talk about this.”

Eppley told the Keizertimes last week a version of HB 4017 was sent from the House Committee on Rural Communities to the House Rules Committee with no recommendation.

“The no recommendation was for the House Rules to act as a parking lot for the bill, to allow the city and the Rawlinses to make a deal,” Eppley said.