Salem, OR — Thursday’s game between McNary and Sprague started with a bang, with McNary’s Boston Smith getting a three point play to get things started. However, Sprague ran away after that, taking advantage of McNary turnovers and the leniency of a 2-3 zone defense to lead 14-7 after one quarter.
Sprague continued their solid play into the second quarter, finding consistency in their mid and long range game, while the Celtics played better after switching to a man to man defense. Sprague was able to extend their lead to 31-20 at halftime, fueled by the solid offensive play of Kobe Withers and Ethan Flannigan.
After the half, McNary came out aggressively going to the basket and trigger shooting threes to kick off the second half offensively. The Celtics also switched back to a 2-3 zone, plugging up the post but leaving the perimeter vulnerable to the dangerous Sprague guards.
The move paid off, as Sprague gave into the temptation of poor shot selection, allowing McNary to crawl back in it and only be down 44-42 after three quarters. McNary’s offensive patience, solid rebounding, and effective perimeter offense also played major roles.
The fourth quarter started the same as the third ended, with poor shot selection by Sprague turning into buckets put in by McNary’s newly lubricated machine, eventually leading McNary to take a 48-46 lead. Sprague fought back, finding ways to put the ball in the basket and eventually taking a 56-54 lead despite the Celtics hot shooting, rallying behind Flannigan and Withers.
After a couple of back and forth possessions, Sprague kept McNary away, thanks to some key turnovers forced by their 2-3 zone defense and clutch baskets by Mason Lomax and Camden McGath. The Celtics weren’t done yet though, as a missed Withers free throw with 16 seconds remaining allowed McNary to tie it at 63 all with 4.3 remaining. Sprague missed a long three to send the game into OT.
Sprague hit a couple of free throws to start OT, after McNary’s Griffin Oliviera fouled out less than a minute into the extra period. McNary proceeded to have a nuclear meltdown over the next three minutes, sending the Olympians to the line four more times and letting them chew a minute off the clock without going past the perimeter, while failing to score themselves on offense.
Sprague would proceed to run away in overtime, as McNary went cold from the field and allowed the Olys to extend their lead to 72-63. Sprague would coast the rest of the way, defeating the Celtics 73-63 in overtime.
Salem, OR — South Salem entered Thursday night ranked second in Class 6A, riding a seven game winning streak including a 6-0 mark in Mountain Valley Conference play. McNary entered at 4-2 in conference, good enough for second place in the conference.
McNary started hot, getting off to a 5-0 jump on #2 South Salem before the Saxons reeled them in and tied it up at five apiece. It was punch for punch after that, with both teams tugging hard but neither really getting an edge. The teams also started having some not so nice chatter, flaring up some tensions early in the game. McNary would ultimately lead 16-14 after one.
McNary started the second sloppy, committing three turnovers in their first four possessions, but South Salem was unable to capitalize and the tug of war continued. It was 30-27 McNary late in the half when the Celtics went on a 4-0 run to close out the half, taking advantage of sloppy Saxons play and McNary led #2 South Salem 34-27 at the half.
In the third, McNary continued to hold their ground, but were unable to take advantage of Saxons mistakes as they would subsequently turn it back over to South Salem. Both teams held firm, with McNary holding a 49-41 advantage into the fourth.
In the fourth, it was more of the same until around 1:35 remaining, when South Salem’s Trey Galbrath hit a three to cut the McNary lead to 58-55. After a missed McNary FT with 39 seconds remaining in a 58-55 game, South Salem was unable to come down with a basket and had to foul again. McNary extended their lead to 59-55 with 13.7 remaining, putting South Salem on the ropes.
After a McNary shooting foul, South Salem trimmed the lead back to 59-57 after hitting both free throws. McNary missed both ensuing free throws, but South Salem’s last second heave didn’t fall, and neither did the subsequent putback attempt, sealing McNary’s upset of #2 South Salem.
Salem, OR — West Salem traveled to South Salem to play a rivalry game with Sprague, with a goal of keeping pace with conference leader South Salem, who played at winless McKay on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Sprague is looking to maintain momentum after their surprising win over McNary on Thursday night.
This rivalry game had an intense, boxing match start as the two teams traded punches in first quarter. Neither team could shake the other loose, with West Salem taking a 14-11 lead after one quarter.
West Salem jumped out to a 16-11 lead to start the second, but couldn’t pull further ahead as Sprague fought with the Titans to keep it between a two and five point game. However, with the Olys inability to knock down an open three, it kept them from being able to overtake the Titans with West Salem holding a five point advantage most of the quarter.
Late in the second, Sprague’s mistakes offensively came back to hurt them, with West Salem finally taking advantage and holding a 29-20 halftime lead.
In the third, West Salem took an 11 point lead early on, but Sprague crawled back within six with 3:50 left in the quarter. With 3:05 left in the third, Sprague finally broke through with their first trey of the night, cutting the Titans lead to 34-29. Another trey with two minutes left put the Olys within a 38-34 deficit.
However, West Salem responded with a 7-0 run to stretch it back out to 45-34, with the Titans leading 45-34 after three. The Olys would come out swinging to start the fourth, getting all the way back within four with a 49-45 game.
After West Salem made it a 51-45 game, Sprague closed the gap to a deuce with a tick over three minutes remaining, tying it at 51 with two minutes left. Greyson Salinas hit the point that pit Sprague up front, hitting a clutch three to give the Olys a 54-53 lead.
The Olys would hang on for the win by the score of 58-54, completing the comeback and winning their first date with the Titans in 2019.
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