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Lady Celts cruise in season opener

McNary senior Sydney Hunter, surrounded by three Barlow defenders, finished with 14 points despite playing limited minutes due to foul trouble.
McNary senior Sydney Hunter, surrounded by three Barlow defenders, finished with 14 points despite playing limited minutes due to foul trouble. KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley

Of the Keizertimes

With the graduation of three of its top four scorers, McNary is looking for girls to step up and put the ball in the basket.

For game one, it was Jaylene Montano and Kailey Doutt, who combined for 27 points as the Lady Celts rolled past Barlow 58-23 at home on Thursday.

Montano, a senior point guard, knocked down two three-pointers in the first 1:05 to give McNary a quick 6-0 lead.

“Coach (Derick Handley) has been telling me to shoot more and said I’m taking a new role this year and just be confident with it so I kind of took that on,” Montano said. “He said miss or make, keep shooting. I was just following what he was saying.”

Doutt, a junior, finished with 12 points, including six in the first half as the Lady Celts went into intermission with a commanding 26-7 lead.

Montano’s hot shooting continued in the second half as she made three more 3-pointers in the third quarter to finish the game with 15 points by going a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc.

With McNary up 47-15, Montano didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

“Her (Montano) and Kailey Doutt are two girls that we’ve talked a lot to the last couple of days,” Handley said. “For us to be successful we need them to have confidence in the outside shot and for Jaylene I think the first one falling kind of got her going for the rest of the day. I’m hoping that it can be consistent. It’s not one of those she needs to make the first one to keep it going but she is such a steady player for us.

“I talked a lot about trying to stay level emotionally, she’s the prime example of it. She’ll never get too frustrated. She never gets too excited, even today she hits her 3-pointers and she comes into the locker room and she’s embarrassed about it. She’s going to have a really good year and she’s a girl that will surprise a lot of people.”

Senior Sydney Hunter got into foul trouble, picking up her third on a charge three minutes into the second quarter, but still managed a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.

In her absence, sophomores Abigail Hawley and Anita Lao got more playing time.

Hawley finished with three points, five assists and four rebounds. Lao added five points, two assists and three rebounds.

“Sydney coming out, I think it was frustrating for her, but honestly for the team it might not be the worst thing in the world,” Handley said. “It made a lot of other girls step up. I knew they (Hawley and Lao) were both going to play a lot for us but the fact that we could put both of them in at the same time with our back up post (Kelsey Koenig), between those three to make a run like they did to end the half, ultimately it’s going to be better for our team, just help us with a little bit of depth. I know it was frustrating for Sydney. It was her first game of her senior year but hopefully she’s going to have 28 more opportunities and we’ll work on keeping her in there.”

Koenig finished with four points and three rebounds off the bench.

Committing fouls was a problem for the Lady Celts in the first half. Barlow was in the double bonus midway through the second quarter but went just 3-for-10 from the free throw line in the first half. The Lady Bruins were also held to just two field goals, one in each quarter.

“Our game plan, we’ve been talking about it for the past week, that we need to play with our feet and we go out there and I think the emotions had a lot to do with it, play with our hands,” Handley said. “I thought in the first half we played way too emotional, a lot of nerves, start of the year so you never know what you’re going to get. It’s also the first time in six months that we’ve played somebody other than ourselves. I thought it took us a good quarter and a half to settle but once we did, we slowed things down and I thought execution got a lot better.”

The competition will get much tougher for the Lady Celts on Saturday as McNary hosts Tualatin, who it’s lost to the past two seasons. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.