Sports

Boys basketball: Senior guards lead Oak Harbor to tournament win

Not ready for its season to end, the Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team came back from an early deficit to defeat host Sedro-Woolley 59-45 Saturday, Feb. 12, in a loser-out district tournament game.

Oak Harbor needs to win two more loser-out games to earn a spot in the regional tournament (first round of state). First, the Wildcats (7-15) travel to Mountlake Terrace (11-11) to take on the Hawks Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. The winner of that game meets the winner of Meadowdale/Shorewood Saturday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace in the battle for the third and final Northwest District 3A berth into the state tournament.

Oak Harbor and Mountlake Terrace split during the regular season; each team won on its home court.

Against Sedro-Woolley (4-18), Oak Harbor started the game on top 7-2, thanks to a three-point play by Denzel Massey and the three-point bucket by Stevie Bratt. From there the Cubs went on a 14-6 run to lead after one quarter, 16-13.

With leading scorer Mike Washington Jr. suffered through a tough shooting night (2-for-12 from the field and 5-for-12 from the line), Oak Harbor turned to senior guards Massey and Jay Stout.

The pair pumped in 23 and 22 points respectively and carried the Wildcat offense.

Stout's three-point basket with 4:22 left in the half gave Oak Harbor a 19-17 lead, a lead the Wildcats held the remainder of the contest.

With Oak Harbor up 33-28 in the third quarter, the Cubs' leading scorer for the season, Isaac Bianchini, picked up his four foul. Although he sat just 30 seconds, his offensive production waned, scoring just five of his 20 points the rest of the way.

Massey and Stout scored all 19 of Oak Harbor's third-period points and the Wildcats led 48-35 going into the final quarter.

Not until Washington Jr. scored with 1:15 left in the game, did someone other than Massey or Stout score in the second half for the 'Cats.

Coach Mike Washington Sr. said Oak Harbor is in a "survive and advance" mode. He said this group of players has been competing together since 2003, and they are not ready for their careers to end.

He said, "They remembered the long trips, the long nights in the gym, and they knew if they didn't win it was over."

Washington Sr. lauded the play of Massey and Stout, and said Massey "did a bang-up job on No. 13 (Bianchini)."

Bianchini and Aaron Stroosma accounted for all but four of the Cubs' points.

Washington Jr. scored nine points and Bratt five in support of Massey and Stout. Bratt also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds; Kevawn Brooks snared seven.

The Wildcat defense forced 18 Sedro-Woolley turnovers to 10 of their own and out scored the Cubs 16-4 off turnovers.

This is Oak Harbor's first playoff appearance since 1998 and first playoff win since 1996.

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