Freshmen enter CVC 12-0

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Celt Edward Gidenko gets a clear look at the hoop in the game with Liberty High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Celt Edward Gidenko gets a clear look at the hoop in the game with Liberty High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

The McNary High School freshmen boys basketball team held on to a slim lead (49-45) in the second half of a game with Liberty High School to keep its perfect record Friday, Jan. 10.

The Celts’ Kevin Martin shadowed Liberty’s Dante Montgomery on defense all night to keep the game’s scoring leader to 18 points. Six-foot-three center Hunter Winters finished with eight points and eight rebounds to help the team to a win.

It was an almost-uncharacteristic close call for a team starting the season 12-0. The young Celtic team hadn’t turned in such a close score since a 45-44 game with Dallas High School on Dec. 20.

The team is averaging 17.9 points more than their opponents on any given night.

Martin and Josh Hakes put up double-digit offensive numbers in numerous games so far this season, but much of the team has had a moment or two in the spotlight.

Josiah Gilbert hit five of six free throws in the Dallas game to lift the team over the top. Edward Gidenko notched five steals and five rebounds to go along with his 10 points in a game with Blanchet Catholic School. Shooting guard Brody Nepstad claimed 14 points in win over Springfield High School. Dillon Branson had a 10-point game with Roosevelt High School, and Brendan Frizzelle has been a steady presence for the team on both offensive and defensive stats. Nick Brouse and Adam Harvey round out the team’s roster.

That upcoming pool of talent doesn’t even include two of the tallest players in the class of 2017. The 6-foot-2 Cade Goff is playing with the varsity team and 6-foot-1 Matthew Ismay is putting in time with the junior varsity team.

The unblemished start bodes well for the team headed into Central Valley Conference play this week. The action started with a road game against a struggling South Salem High School freshman team Tuesday, Jan. 14.

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