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When the Canby girls started the final week off their non-league schedule, they had two games to prepare for. But by the end of the week, they had played only one.
The Cougars’ first game — originally scheduled for January 4 against McKay (2-4) — was canceled due to Covid protocols. It was Canby’s first canceled game of the year and McKay’s second. Canby head coach Ingrid McCoy detailed how both the virus and canceled game affected the team.
“I think the canceled game on Tuesday hurt us mentally more than anything,” McCoy told the Current. “The kids were excited to play at home and it was a letdown.”
McCoy and her staff had to nix one practice during the week and make adjustments to prepare for the game. The Cougar JV squad — a team that typically practices with varsity — had four players in Covid protocols during the week. Junior McKenna Kraft was also out for the team’s Friday game against McNary.
The adjusted rotation saw the Cougars (6-3) come out of the gates slow against the home Celtics (2-8). After a poor first quarter, Canby kept the game within reach until the fourth.
In the final period, McNary blasted the game open with a 9-0 run to come home with a 45-29 win. The Cougars did themselves no favors by committing 22 turnovers on the night, many of which were unforced.
“We know some turnovers will happen, but we must minimize the unforced to be competitive in the TRL,” McCoy said, “We also continue to get a lot of great looks at the basket and continue to struggle on the finish.”
Canby’s poor shooting, which also plagued the club in their season-opener against Nelson, has been one of the few blemishes in an otherwise impressive non-league run.
After finishing 5-12 the year prior, few pundits expected the Cougars to contend in 2021-22 and, after an unexpected coaching change that saw McCoy take over the reigns from Chuck Knight shortly before the season began, Canby’s odds seemed to dwindle further.
But McCoy and her crew have been repeatedly proving the doubters wrong with a 6-3 start that included a remarkable six-game winning streak. The Cougar head coach saw the bright start to the season as a building block for Three Rivers League play.
“The biggest take from our preseason is finding our strengths and weaknesses, both as a team and individuals,” McCoy said. “We looked at a lot of different lineups, put kids in different positions and worked at developing a foundation we will build on throughout the season.”
After such a hot start from an unexpected group, that foundation seems to be awfully strong.
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