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Boys basketball: Wildcats make first district trip in 13 years
The good: The Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team qualified for the district tournament for the first time since 1998.
The bad: The Wildcats, the eighth seed, open the playoffs at Glacier Peak Thursday against the first-seed Grizzlies who are 18-3 (14-0 in Wesco 3A).
Oak Harbor (5-9, 6-14) lost twice to the Grizzlies this season, 73-53 at Glacier Peak last Thursday and 55-44 at home Jan. 11.
Glacier Peak, ranked eighth in the most recent 3A state poll, appears to be the only dominant team in the district tournament. The Wildcats split their games with the other four Wesco 3A teams in the playoffs.
Oak Harbor and GP will be joined in the tournament by Wesco running mates Mountlake Terrace (9-5, 10-10), Meadowdale (8-6, 10-10), Shorecrest (8-6, 11-9) and Shorewood (7-7, 10-10); and Northwest Conference teams Mount Vernon (11-9) and Sedro-Woolley (4-16).
The first three rounds of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament will be played at the home gym of the highest seed. Since Oak Harbor is the tournament's lowest seed, it will not host any games. The tournament starts Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m.
The Oak Harbor/Glacier Peak game is opposite Meadowdale/Sedro-Woolley. The two winners of the two games and the two losers square off Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m.
The other first-round games pit Shorewood at Meadowdale and Shorecrest at Mount Vernon.
The tournament concludes at Mountlake Terrace High School Saturday, Feb. 19, with the two teams playing for third and fourth meeting at 6 p.m., followed by the championship game at 8.
The top three teams earn berths in the regional tournaments Feb. 25 and 26.
Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington Sr. knows his team has its hands full with Glacier Peak. After the Wildcats lost to the Grizzlies last Thursday, he said, "It's back to the drawing board."
He added, "They have no weaknesses. They are a well-coached, physically strong team. When they take three guys out, they put in three more that are as good or better. If you stop one, they have someone else who can score."
The Grizzlies are led by 7-foot Payton Pervier who ranks third in the league in scoring with 16.9 points per game. His is backed by three other players who average 8.5 or more points per contest.
Oak Harbor will counter with the league's No. 2 scorer, Mike Washington Jr. (19.1), and Jay Stout (11).