Article:    
McNary's 'Big Three' leads Celtics to a top 10 ranking
1/31/2018 1:07 AM

KEIZER – The McNary High School boys basketball team figured to be in rebuilding mode this season — on paper at least.

The Celtics didn't return any starters from last season’s team that reached the second round of the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs for the third year in a row.

But behind the senior leadership of Chandler Cavell, Lucas Garvey and Andrew Jones, a trio coach Ryan Kirch refers to as his "Big Three,"  McNary finds itself in the thick of the Greater Valley Conference race.

The Celtics could be viewed as a surprise team, but the “Big Three" don’t see it that way. Cavell recalled a conversation he had with Jones shortly after McNary’s season-ending playoff loss last year at North Medford.

“We were actually in the gym talking,” Cavell said. “I said, ‘You know what man, I think we could be just as good or better than we were last year.' "

It's not a criticism of last season’s team. It is an inner confidence based on camaraderie and work ethic.

The fifth-ranked Celtics (13-5, 8-2 GVC) are tied for second place in league play with No. 10 West Salem (13-5, 8-2) following Friday’s 56-47 loss to No. 1 Sprague (15-2, 10-0). It was McNary's first home loss of the season.

“This is the one team we really, really wanna beat this year,” Cavell said after Friday’s defeat. “It’s just more fuel for the fire. We’ll come back and finish the season strong, hopefully we can get ‘em in the state (tournament).”

Sprague (15-2, 10-0) is riding a 10-game winning streak and has beaten McNary in all three meetings this season.

But despite a loss that snapped the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, Kirch remains optimistic.

“Credit to Sprague, they did a really good job,” Kirch said. "(But) in the long run, this makes us better than beating somebody by 30 points. It’s a long road, we still have five, six weeks to play.”

Cavell, Garvey and Jones go back in their basketball careers, and this has been their season to shine. They are the only returning varsity players.

Cavell, a 6-foot-4 wing who was sixth man last season, is averaging a team-high 18 points and six rebounds per game.

Garvey, a 6-3 wing who was in the rotation last season, is the second-leading scorer at 13 points per game. He opened the season at full strength after suffering a broken collarbone in Week 4 of the football season at McKay.

Jones, a 6-1 point guard, is the floor leader.

“When I use that term (Big Three) it’s their senior leadership that separates them,” Kirch said.

McNary is by no means a three-player show.

Kirch noted that 6-6 junior post Boston Smith has been “incredibly influential” making the transition from junior varsity last season, and he is joined in the starting lineup by 6-5 senior wing Ricardo Gardelli, a foreign exchange student from Italy who scored a team-high 14 points in Friday’s loss.

“The chemistry with this team is incredible,” Garvey said, “and that and our skill level together, we’re just playing really well right now.”

While the rankings don’t mean much yet, finishing the regular season among the top eight in the OSAA rankings is significant. Those teams have the potential to host two state playoff games, which translates into a smoother path to the eight-team state tournament.

McNary, which won its only state championship in boys basketball in 1968, made its last state tournament appearance in 2003. The Celtics were co-league champions as recently as 2015.

In a season with perhaps lower expectations from the outside looking in, McNary’s success is no fluke.

“We knew we had a lot of young guys on JV and we knew they were all pretty solid players, they just hadn’t had a lot of experience yet,” Jones said. “We knew we could get a lot better if we pushed ‘em and they’ve really played well so far.”

Among the “Big Three” Jones came into the season with the most to prove. He played limited minutes last season.

Because of his aggressive on the ball defense, Kirch said Jones can irritate the opposition, and “from a coaching standpoint he’s a guy you’re ready to go to battle with.”

“I felt like a lot of people didn’t think I’d be that great, so I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder and I knew I could play,” Jones said. “Chandler always supported me and believed in me, and Lucas has too. They helped me come along.”

Garvey, a running back/defensive back on the football team, said basketball is his favorite sport.

Kirch calls Garvey an outstanding shooter who “has all the intangibles and doesn’t make mistakes with the basketball.”

The Cavell name is familiar to area basketball fans. Chandler’s father, Bob, played basketball at Oregon State. His brother Harry, a 6-6 redshirt freshman guard at Seattle Pacific, was the GVC  Player of the Year his senior season at McNary.

Chandler Cavell, who also leads the team in assists and steals, has tripled his scoring average from last season.

“Chan is as complete a player as we have in the league,” Kirch said. “He just plays with a sense of calm. He’s never hurried, he’s never rushed.”

While Cavell typically fills the stat sheet, he did not come into the season with statistical goals.

“I was ready to do whatever I had to do for this team to win,” Cavell said. “Whether that be scoring or passing, or just being a role guy."

Cavell, Garvey and Jones have played major roles on a squad that no longer can be considered a surprise team.

They have left their stamp on the program with designs on concluding their high school careers in the state tournament.

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/sports/high-school/2018/01/27/mcnary-big-three-chandler-cavell-lucas-garvey-andrew-jones-gvc-osaa-playoffs/1054214001/

News Comments & Questions
No comments yet, be the first one?