It seemed as if Friday night’s matchup between host Glencoe and McNary was a matter of McNary’s speed against Glencoe’s size.
McNary’s speed won out as the Celtics survived a fourth-quarter rally by Glencoe and scored a 44-42 win.
With 18 seconds left and the Celtics clinging to a slim lead, Glencoe’s Trebiel Larry hit one of two from the foul line but grabbed the offensive rebound after he missed the second attempt. He subsequently was fouled and hit one of two again to cut the McNary lead to two points. McNary’s Johnathan Doutt hit a late free throw for the Cetics in the waning seconds to preserve the win.
“We talk about adversity a lot and they made a run in that fourth quarter to get back into the game, but we just played hard on defense and overcame the adversity to get the win,” Doutt said. “Plus, we started three new guys this game — Hayden McCowan, Hunter Christenson and Jon Kiser — and they really gave us a real boost defensively.”
McNary coach Ryan Kirch said last year the Celtics struggled and were learning how to compete. This year, he said, the team is over that and learning how to win.
“So when we have those seven- or eight-point leads, we need to extend those,” he said. “Now as ugly as the end of the game was and us not getting a couple of calls to go our way and missing free throws, we found a way to win, which is the most important thing. Seeing that end result is huge because we’ve been on the losing side two or three times this year.”
It seemed at the outset that the Celtics might face some adversity because of the sheer height difference between the two teams. The Celtics (2-4), whose tallest player is 6-foot-3 junior Devon Dunagan, had to battle against the Crimson Tide’s post duo of 6-foot-3 senior Alex Blaylock and 6-foot-4 junior Kyle Mincemoyer. However, the Celtics were able to counter that with the play of Doutt, McCowan and Christenson, who helped the Celtics sprint out to an early first-half lead.
The Celtics took control from the start as Doutt’s seven points in the first quarter helped McNary to a 15-6 lead. McNary extended the lead to 19-6 early in the second quarter before Blaylock brought the Crimson Tide (1-4) back. He scored three consecutive baskets as the Celtics’ shooting cooled off and they had to settle for a 23-18 halftime lead. After the Celtics shot 6 of 16 in the first quarter, they simmered in the second, going 2 of 8. However, McNary was bailed out by its 6 for 6 performance from the foul line in the quarter.
The Celtics entered the final quarter with an 11-point lead, but a bucket by Blaylock midway through the quarter culled the McNary lead to 38-32. With 2:38 remaining, Larry stole the ball and went in for a layup before he was fouled by McCowan, who was whistled for an intentional foul. Larry hit one of two from the foul line and got the ball back, but McNary avoided disaster when Glencoe’s Jared Duvall missed a three-pointer that would have cut the McNary lead to two points.
Doutt led the Celtics with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting. McCowan added eight points and Connor Goff chipped in six points, four of them coming in the final quarter. As a team, the Celtics shot 17-48 (35 percent) from the field.