B-ball team makes Christmas brighter for local family

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Jonathan Doutt, Nick McDonald and Connor Goff contemplate a purchase in the girls’ toy aisle at Target. The McNary High School boys varsity basketball team adopted a family for the Christmas holiday and sought to fulfill the kids’ wish lists at Target in Keizer Station. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Jonathan Doutt, Nick McDonald and Connor Goff contemplate a purchase in the girls’ toy aisle at Target. The McNary High School boys varsity basketball team adopted a family for the Christmas holiday and sought to fulfill the kids’ wish lists at Target in Keizer Station. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When on the court, the boys of the McNary High School varsity basketball team look to coaches for guidance.

At the Keizer Station Target last Friday afternoon, it was another adult offering much-needed guidance.

For the second year, the Celts were shopping for a local family in need. This year they had $35 per person to spend on a family with a single mom and six children.

The team got trapped in a bad zone while trying to figure how sizes work for young girls clothing.

“We’re so bad at this,” Connor Goff said with a grimace. “You can tell we don’t have little sisters.”

But help was on the way. A mom doing shopping for her daughter took mercy on the boys and helped not only decipher requested sizes, but also suggested what styles would be best.

“That helped out a lot,” a relieved Goff said.

Senior Nick McDonald led the group, which successfully broken into teams and got all the requested items in about half an hour. The team delivered items to the family in Salem the next afternoon.

“We did pretty good,” McDonald said. “We’re not all shoppers, but we made a family happy.”

Goff noted most of the players were doing the shopping for a second time, which helped move the process along.

“Last year it took a lot longer and it was just three kids,” Goff said. “It was a little more organized this time.”

With a set dollar amount to spend per child, the boys were looking for both the right items and the right price. Hunter Christenson said the dual mission was accomplished.

“We got some markers and books for coloring at a steal of a deal,” Christenson said.

Jon Kiser was proud of what his group did.

“You always think of the stuff you get and how you expect it,” Kiser said. “But not everyone has that. To help a family out, it’s just a great feeling. It means a lot to let people know there are people out there for them.”

That’s what made the shopping satisfying for McDonald as well.

“It’s nice to give back to the community after all they do to help our team,” he said. “It feels really nice to give back.”

Ryan Kirch, the second-year MHS boys basketball coach, was glad to see how the boys have embraced the idea.

“It’s an opportunity to not only spend time together off the basketball court, but more importantly an opportunity to help those in need,” Kirch said. “As a coach, I love to see the growth of them as basketball players and as a team, but I am most proud to see them grow as people.”

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