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’Cats come alive in second half

The only way the Wildcats could have played any better defense in the second half of Wednesday’s WesCo North basketball game against Arlington was to have shut the Eagles out.

As it was, the girls came very close to accomplishing just that.

Trailing 28-26 at halftime, Oak Harbor allowed just two baskets from the floor and five total points in the final two quarters, to thoroughly thrash the Eagles 61-33 and boost their league record to 8-2.

Coach Brett McLeod said the Wildcats acted like they were just going through the motions in the first half.

“We were terrible on defense in the first half and it was kind of like we showed up thinking we can roll over these guys,” he said. “There are not many teams in WesCo where you can just show up and win games. It’s a tough league all the way around.”

At one point in the first quarter, the Wildcats held a four point, 11-7 lead, but the Eagles shaved the margin to 13-11 after the first eight minutes.

The two teams traded baskets and the lead in the second quarter before Ginny Wilson’s basket at the buzzer gave Arlington a two point lead.

There were no smiles, but rather a lot of determined looks on the faces of the 10 Oak Harbor players who emerged from the locker room for the start of the second half of play.

Coach McLeod had spoken and the Wildcats immediately went to work.

Back-to-back baskets by senior Mietra Smollack started a 7-0 run before a basket by Arlington’s Alisha Murrin at the 4:39 mark broke the string.

Murrin’s hoop was the Eagles’ only score of the period, and Oak Harbor followed with 11 more points and forced 11 turnovers to take a commanding 44-30 lead after three quarters of action.

“Everyone finally picked it up in the second half,” Smollack said. “We talked about it at halftime and we finally got our confidence back. People started pushing them in the second half and that’s what got to them.”

In the final period, Jennifer Jansen took over under the boards for Oak Harbor, blocking four shots.

The 6-2 junior also scored four points as did teammates Clair Thiel and Jessica Denmon as part of a 17-point output to seal the victory.

“It started to feel like a volleyball game out there. It was fun,” Jansen said.

Denmon scored a game-high 18 points for the Wildcats and Smollack had 15 points. Jansen finished the game with nine points and Thiel scored eight.

“I think tonight was a good lesson for us,” McLeod said. “We found out we can’t take halves off, we have to be ready to play from the get-go.”

Oak Harbor 61, Arlington 33

Arlington 11 17 2 3 — 33

Oak Harbor 13 13 18 17 — 61

Arlington (33) — Alisha Murrin 4 0-0 8, Ginny Wilson 3 0-0 6, Quinn Kesselring 3 0-2 5, Sheryl Scheppele 1 0-0 3, Christina White 2 0-0 4, Kjirsten Jensen 2 0-0 4, Kelsey Czaban 0 0-0 0, Kandice Evans 0 0-0 0, Tiffany Dagget 0 1-2 1, Jessica Vanloos 0 0-0 0, Kayla Cornist 0 2-4 2. Totals 14 3-8 33.

Oak Harbor (61) — Jessica Denmon 5 5-6 18, Mietra Smollack 5 4-4 15, Jennifer Jansen 4 1-2 9, Cheyenne Tubo 0 0-0 0, Clair Thiel 2 4-8 8, Janay Baeyen 0 0-0 0, Cori Hendricksen 3 0-0 6, Roshaunda Smith 1 0-0 2, Jasmine Chong 1 1-2 3, Briana Brothers 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 15-22 61.

Three-point goals — Arlington 2 (Kesselring, Scheppele); Oak Harbor 4 (Denmon 3, Smollack). Turnovers — Arlington 27, Oak Harbor 14. Total fouls — Arlington 18, Oak Harbor 12. Fouled out — none.

WesCo North girls basketball

Games through Jan. 16

Team League Overall

W L W L

Lake Stevens 9 0 13 0

Snohomish 8 1 10 3

Oak Harbor 8 2 11 3

M-Pilchuck 5 4 10 4

Cascade 4 6 6 8

Everett 3 6 4 8

Monroe 3 6 4 9

Arlington 1 8 4 8

Stanwood 1 9 3 11

Scores Jan. 16

Oak Harbor 61, Arlington 33

Snohomish 80, Cascade 36

Marysville-Pilchuck 60, Everett 40

Stanwood 49,Monroe 46

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