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Top 10 sports stories of 2016

Deven Hunter kisses the Final Four trophy after the Lady Beavers upset Baylor in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. (Submitted)
Deven Hunter kisses the Final Four trophy after the Lady Beavers upset Baylor in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. (Submitted)

#10 McNary’s new gym floor

McNary High School renovated its gymnasium thanks to $20,000 provided by the Athletic Booster Club.

The project included painting both levels of the gym, along with refinishing the 15-year-old floor to include a McNary “M” at center court with ‘McNary” and “Celtics” at each baseline.

Work began as soon as school let out on June 15.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place in August.

“It’s much overdue, a much needed project,” ABC vice president Scott Kiser said.

Like the turf field the summer before, Kiser noted the new floor will be a benefit to the entire school and community.

“So many groups use this gym,” he said.

“It was one of those projects where we’re not focusing on just one sport and our goal is to not just focus on one sport per project. Like our turf, lacrosse, soccer, football, in here you’re going to have wrestling, volleyball, basketball, plus all their assemblies and everything they’re going to do. These are projects that we are doing that affect a large population of the school and our community.”

#9 Cavell Player of the Year

McNary senior Harry Cavell, who averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals per game, was selected the unanimous Greater Valley Conference Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

“It’s awesome and it’s affirmation that all my hard work has paid off a little bit,” Cavell said of the Player of the Year honor. “But it’s just as much a testament to my team. There are a lot of good players who don’t stand out because of their teams.”

McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said that attitude is what he’s appreciated most about having Cavell as a player for the Celtics.

“He’s a mature kid with poise and a confident attitude that the other players in our program gravitate to,” Kirch said. “It helps unite the group as a whole because his expectations mirror what we expect as a program.”

Defensive Player of the Year awards also went to McNary as junior Matthew Ismay shared the boys honor with Joe Carey of South Salem and sophomore Kailey Doutt won the girls award.

“This means that coaches can trust me to guard the best players every game,” Ismay said.

The Lady Celts led the GVC in points allowed and Doutt had a big part in that.

“Kailey is a spark plug for the whole defensive side of our game and has shown just how deep the buy-in is for our defensive schemes,” said Derick Handley, McNary head coach.

Doutt said the award was a result of an approach to the game that she’s practiced from a young age.

“I have always been taught that defense wins games. It’s what my dad, who was my coach when I was younger, always focused on,” she said. “It means a lot because I’ve been trying to work hard on it. I really feel blessed and thankful.”

#8 McNary boys bowl near-perfect game

On its way to winning a district title, McNary’s boys bowling team, made up of Nick Blythe, Tim Kiser, Jerome Ricks, Bailey Lee and Donny Grunbough, knocked down 298 of a possible 300 pins to nearly bowl a perfect game in the semifinals of the tournament.

“I was jumping up and down after every strike,” said Grubough.

“Everybody in the place stopped to watch us,” said Kiser.

“It was stadium-level loud,” added Blythe.

The almost-perfect effort capped a three-game series that began with scores of 262 and 224.

“It was the most incredible stretch I’ve ever seen in more than 20 years as a coach,” said coach Dan Kaplan

At the end of the semifinals, which consists of 10 games, McNary was 321 pins ahead of the second place team. The Celts finished ahead 377-249 for the two finals games.

Blythe, a three-year veteran of the team who’s already got several 300 games as a solo performer, said the experience was his most memorable yet.

“It was the most fun I’ve had in three years, and this is the best team I’ve ever been part of,” Blythe said.

For the entire top ten, see the December 23 print edition of Keizertimes.