Sports

Boys basketball: Lake Stevens muscles its way by Oak Harbor

The Lake Stevens boys basketball team used its size and strength to power by visiting Oak Harbor 70-41 Friday, Dec. 3.

The Wildcats had no answer for the Viking’s 6-6, 250-pound Gunnar Eklund who muscled his way in for 17 points and nine rebounds. Eklund’s partner in the post, 6-7 Lorin Vandergrift, chipped in with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Behind the work of the two towers and slick guard Christian Gasca, the Vikings took an lead early and cruised away from the Wildcats.

Lake Stevens led after one, 17-12, then outscored Oak Harbor 42-19 in the middle periods to bury the ‘Cats.

Oak Harbor was still in the game, down only 28-20 with 2:27 left in the half, before the Vikings ripped off nine straight points to finish the second quarter. Lake Stevens hit the first six points of the second half to finish a 15-0 run that finished Oak Harbor.

The Vikings shot 53 percent (26-49) for the game and outrebounded the Wildcats 32-27. Lake Stevens was equally as impressive on the defensive end, limited Oak Harbor to 30 percent (12-40) from the field and holding high-scoring Mike Washington Jr. to eight points.

The Vikings forced 15 Oak Harbor turnovers that led to 20 points, while giving up only three points off nine turnovers.

Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington Sr. said, “They (Lake Stevens) are very physical and they play great defense.”

The officials allowed “a physical game,” Washington Sr. said, which further complicated Oak Harbor’s matchup issues.

As for handling Eklund and Vandergrift in the post, Washington Sr. said, “We tried to double them, we tried to front them. They were physically superior to us on the block.”

He added, “Our kids kept fighting to the end; I really like how Matt (Burgoyne) played physically strong.”

Jay Stout led the Oak Harbor scorers with 14 points, which included three 3-pointers. Kevawn Brooks added 10, Burgoyne five, Josiah Miller two and Connor Paul two.

Brooks had a team-high five rebounds.

The game was the season-opener for Lake Stevens, which qualified for the 4A state tournament last year.

Oak Harbor, now 1-2, starts league play at Lynnwood next Friday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and then returns home Tuesday, Dec. 14, to face Shorewood at 7:30 p.m.

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