Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: March 2, 2015

Girls finish GVC in third place

Lady Celt Lauren Hudgins holds off a Sprague defender in the game Friday, Feb. 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Lady Celt Lauren Hudgins holds off a Sprague defender in the game Friday, Feb. 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School girls varsity basketball team started its game against Sprague High School with an unanswered 17-point run Friday, Feb. 20.

Despite the feat, neither players nor coaches were exactly thrilled with the play in the 70-25 win.

“We handled them well by going through the motions. It wasn’t until the last quarter that we got the energy up,” said Vanessa Hayes, a McNary junior. “We had a bit of a talk at halftime that changed things.”

While the Lady Celts were never in danger, Head Coach Derick Handley wanted to see the team putting more pressure on the Olys.

“Our mindset has been too much what the other team is bringing to the game and not on being us and making the other team make adjustments,” Handley said. “In the first half, we were relying on the other team to miss their shots instead of forcing them to miss their shots.”

The lopsided score allowed McNary to clear the bench twice in the game. Sydney Hunter led all scoring with 25 points; Hayes had 11; Madi Hingston had six; Kaelie Flores had 10; Jasmine Ernest and Kailey Doutt put up four points each; Paige Downer and Lauren Hudgins had three apiece; and Emma Jones and Kelsey Koenig had two each.

Jones said defense in the second half improved exponentially.

“We were communicating well and knew where the help defense was when we needed it,” she said.

The Lady Celts are third in the Greater Valley Conference as the season winds down and will play their first playoff game Wednesday, March 4. Between Sprague and McKay High School, which the girls beat 61-15 Tuesday, Feb. 24, neither opponent was much of a challenge.

It meant that the girls will have to keep bringing their A-game despite the lack of pressure from recent opponents.

“We’re going to have to work extra hard in practice. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point in the season and we want to be prepared to take it to the next level,” Jones said.

Handley said there is room for improvement on both sides of the court.

“If we allow teams to do what they want to do on offense, they will. But, when we clamp down, we know what we’re capable of,” he said. “On offense, we’ve gotten selfish at half-court. We’re trying to make shots that aren’t great instead of looking for open teammates with better looks.”

MHS scribes will see their stories on stage

McNary junior Morgan Hoag wrote one of the one acts to be featured in the Celts' upcoming One Act Festival. John Bryant, a senior, is directing the piece. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary junior Morgan Hoag wrote one of the one acts to be featured in the Celts’ upcoming One Act Festival. John Bryant, a senior, is directing the piece. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

BY ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In a couple of weeks, Morgan Hoag and Alohi Tombleson will be published playwrights.

Given that they are a junior and sophomore at McNary High School, respectively, this is no small feat.

“Ohmigosh, I feel like I’m going to die of happiness,” said Hoag, who trembled with excitement when asked about how it feels leading up to the debut of McNary’s One Acts Festival. “It feels awesome because a lot of times when you’re writing, you feel like it’s terrible, and then to have someone else enjoy it and pick it to be performed is amazing.”

Hoag’s story takes place in the aftermath of a fatal car accident as the main character struggles to move forward. Hoag and Tombleson both wrote one act plays as part of a playwriting class last fall and were selected by Dallas Myers, the school’s drama director, to have their work performed in the One Act Festival which debuts Friday, March 13.

Tombleson was an early selection for her script The Courtroom in which the main character ends up on trial by the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“We only had to include one of the horsemen for the assignment, but I read an article about another play that took place in a courtroom and that opened up the possibility of using all of them,” Tombleson said. “I’m overjoyed, I immediately told my mom and my family and started writing another play.”

In addition to student writing, McNary thespians are taking the director’s chair.

Senior John Bryant said Hoag’s script spoke to him immediately.

“I could have done a comedy, but I wanted something that could connect emotionally. I am trying to center all the visuals around Amber (the main character) and the isolation she’s imposing on herself and struggle against recovery,” Bryant said. “I told myself last year when we did the one acts that I wanted to direct this year, but now it’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at once.”

Morgan Raymond is directing The Courtroom. As a dancer, she’s putting a lot of focus on the actors’ movement.

“I’ve talked with them a lot about what the horsemen represent and want them to use their voice and body language to inhabit the characters. It’s kind of crazy to call myself a director, but I like it more than acting and being up there myself,” Raymond said.

Myers said the One Act Festival serves three purposes: it gives freshman and sophomore students their time in the spotlight, lets upperclassmen direct performances and it’s relatively low budget.

Producing student work means the drama department doesn’t need to pay the sometimes steep royalties for each performance. For the whole run, it will end up costing the department about $500.

“For Legally Blonde, the production rights alone were $5,600,” Myers said. “The good thing was the ticket sales covered it. It was the most successful musical we’ve had since I started at the school five years ago.”

It might come as something of a surprise to learn that McNary’s drama department survives on ticket sales alone. Whatever profits it turns finance future productions as well as smaller trips to thespian festivals and outings to other local productions.

Playwright Alohi Tombleson (standing) and director Morgan Raymond will stage a production of The Courtroom next month. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Playwright Alohi Tombleson (standing) and director Morgan Raymond will stage a production of The Courtroom next month. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

“I try not to turn a lot of those costs over to students, but there are times when we have to do it,” he said.

McNary’s annual Knight of Arts fundraiser – set for Saturday, March 7 – helps provide a cushion in the event of a shortfall, but the Fine Arts Department is also hoping to install a closed circuit camera system that will enhance the ability to record high-quality renditions of every performance on the Ken Collins stage.

The largest costs, year-in and year-out, come from lighting and paint.

“We spent $500 on paint for Legally Blonde. Some of the lumber we use to build sets is special order,” he said. “Even things like painter’s tape and masking tape add up.”

However, there are also some occasions when Oregon’s tight-knit high school theatre community can come to the rescue. Last year, McNary put together an extravagant steampunk production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Most of the equipment is now on loan to St. Helens High School.

“We really do try to pay it forward. And, every year, we are putting more and more of an emphasis on making things that we can reuse for future productions,” Myers said.