Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Lucy Angevine brings the ball up the court against McNary. Her leadership has been a steadying force for the young Grizzlies.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Lucy Angevine brings the ball up the court against McNary. Her leadership has been a steadying force for the young Grizzlies.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Peyton Justice, one of McMinnville’s sophomore starting guards flies up court against  McNary. The Celtics’ KJ Custer defends.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Peyton Justice, one of McMinnville’s sophomore starting guards flies up court against McNary. The Celtics’ KJ Custer defends.
By Rusty Rae • Of the News-Register • 

Grizzlies’ defense bumps Celtics, 36-33

 

McMinnville senior starting guard Lucy Angevine, all 5’-6’ of her, carries the leadership role for the Grizzlies’ young, scrappy basketball squad. She contributes the grit and wisdom of a decade of experience. Understanding her leadership role is as much about steering the team forward with positive energy as it is about being the leading scorer.

“I’ve stepped up a lot this season with my leadership skills with us losing a number of seniors from last year’s team. We’re a young team and it’s not just how I play – that’s important too – but how I carry myself on the court – whether we’re ahead or battling for a lead,” she said.

Angevine was all of that Tuesday night on the Grizzly home court against McNary as McMinnville (5-6, 0-0) survived a spirited comeback by the Celtics (1-8, 0-0) for a 36-33 win.

Angevine, who scored only three markers, led a frenzied Mac attack to open the contest. As the Grizzlies’ defense shut down the Celtic offense, McMinnville raced to leads of 12-0 and 21-4 as the first stanza ended.

Angevine and team made it look effortless through the first period. The Grizzly defense didn’t allow McNary a chance to establish rhythm. Angevine, Emily Jensen, the Grizzlies other senior starter, along with sophomores Maddix Bowdle, Madison Gerhart, and Peyton Justice, and freshman Rylie McManus overpowered their opponents on defense with a swarming octopus defense that resulted in easy buckets.

Angevine hit a lay-in and was fouled, converting a three-point play early for a 5-0 Grizzly lead. McManus dropped in five points with a picture-book lay-in and a rainbow three, as did junior Libby Hardee. McMinnville’s shut down of McNary was so complete the Celtics didn’t score until the 3:02 mark of the first stanza.

When McNary switched to a two-three zone to start the second half, McMinnville’s inexperience showed. The Grizzlies scored only one point in the second quarter when sophomore Gerhart was fouled on a drive to the bucket. She made only one of two tries from the charity stripe.

Meanwhile, McNary whittled away at the lead, paring it to a 22-11 margin at the half.

Angevine and the Grizzly defense continued its flowing defensive play in the second half while the offense continued struggling against the zone.

Grizzly head coach Sean Coste said of the zone, “It changed our offensive mentality. We were impatient against the zone and hesitated taking our shots against the zone – and then forced other shots.”

By the end of the third quarter, the lead had dwindled to 29-24. Coste instructed his squad slow down its offensive focus, bleeding time off the clock to attempt to control the Celtic offense, and give Mac chances at easy scores. The Grizzlies, still tentative at times offensively, remained strong defensively, but a momentary lapse left Celtic Lillian Besa wide open, and she drained a triple to tie the game at 33, with 20 seconds left.

McMinnville wasted no time retaking the lead. Freshman McManus, showing confidence beyond her years, coolly dropped in a net-straightening three with 15 seconds remaining. McNary called timeout with 8.9 seconds left to set up a final shot.

But Gerhart blocked the attempt, cleanly and the Grizzlies took the win.

Coste noted, “This team shows itself to be very good at moments – like our first quarter. It’s a scrappy bunch – and, really, the sky’s the limit.”

Angevine adds, “Personally, I want us to win the league title and keep that streak going. And I hope we can grow the program – we’ve got a lot of young players with the opportunity for growth.”

McMinnville will play a non-league match Friday at Tualatin before opening league play Tuesday on the Grizzly home court against Forest Grove. Game time is 7:15 pm.

The McMinnville boys’ team will open the night against the Vikings at 5:45 p.m.

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