Boys basketball: 'Cats win second-straight upset; playoffs within reach

After upsetting visiting Shorecrest 63-52 Tuesday, Feb. 1, the Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team has put itself in position to capture its first post-season berth since 1998.

To get that playoff spot, the Wildcats mostly likely will need help from the team it just defeated, Shorecrest.

Oak Harbor (5-8, 6-13) will advance to the district tournament if it wins at Glacier Peak (13-0, 17-3) in the regular season finale Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m., or if Everett (4-9, 6-13) loses at Shorecrest (7-6, 10-9) Thursday.

The likelihood of Oak Harbor doing something no other Wesco 3A team has accomplished this year, beating Glacier Peak (and on the road, no less), is slim. The Wildcats’ best bet may be for the Scots to dump Everett. Shorecrest defeated the Seagulls in Everett 64-58 Jan. 11.

If Oak Harbor loses and Everett wins, the two teams will finish 5-9 and tied for sixth, but the ‘Gulls topped Oak Harbor twice this year and own the tie-breaker between the teams.

Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington Sr. said last week that for his club to have a chance at the post season, it would have to upset then second-place Meadowdale and third-place Shorecrest. The Wildcats did just that.

Against Shorecrest Tuesday, a Trace Paul basket off an offensive rebound gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead midway through the first period, and Oak Harbor would hold the advantage the remainder of the evening.

Fueled by Denzel Massey’s seven points, the ‘Cats finished the first quarter up 17-12.

The Scots cut the gap to one, 20-19, with 6:47 left in the half, then Mike Washington Jr. and Jay Stout drained threes to help Oak Harbor up the lead.

Shorecrest sliced that lead to two, then Washington Jr. and Paul each scored on put backs in the last minute of the half to give Oak Harbor a half-time edge of 30-24.

The Wildcats sprinted to an 8-0 run to start the second half, holding the Scots scoreless in the period for five-and-a-half minutes, and finished the quarter with a 43-30 lead.

Three minutes into the final period, Oak Harbor had the game’s biggest lead, 52-34, and Shorecrest never moved closer than nine the rest of the way.

Washington Jr. paced Oak Harbor with 22 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Stout pumped in 14 points and grabbed two steals, and Massey finished with 12 points and three assists.

Paul collected eight points and four rebounds, and Stevie Bratt had five points and six boards. Patrick Bell collected the final two points.

Oak Harbor shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field, including a stellar 7-for-16 from three-point range. The Scots shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field but hit just 3-of-18 threes.

Shorecrest out rebounded Oak Harbor 36-30, but the Wildcats won the turnover battle 10-17.

Washington Sr. said, “We beat two good teams, now we will wait and see what happens.”

He also lauded the crowd – including a full student section – and the Oak Harbor High School band: “We had great support tonight; it is greatly appreciated.”

The win was a happy ending for Senior Night as Massey, Stout, Bratt, David Tillotson, Trace Paul and Connor Paul played their final game on the OHHS floor.

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