No upset this time; 'Cats fall to GP | Boys basketball

Zach Gibbs scores for Oak Harbor against Glacier Peak. - John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times
Zach Gibbs scores for Oak Harbor against Glacier Peak.
— image credit: John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times

The dream was followed by a nightmare.

Two days after a fantasy-like upset win over Shorewood in the district tournament, the Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team was slapped back to reality 54-37 at Glacier Peak Friday, Feb. 10.

The loss dropped the Wildcats into a loser-out game at Ferndale Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m.  The Eagles stayed alive by defeating Everett 56-45 Friday. In other games, Mountlake Terrace stopped Shorecrest 51-45 and will play Glacier Peak for the district title next Friday. Shorewood eliminated Mount Vernon 67-43 and will meet Shorecrest in the other loser-out game Tuesday.

To snare one of the two regional berths allotted District 1, Oak Harbor now has to win three straight.

First the Wildcats have to get by Ferndale. The Eagles are 16-7 and at one time stood 11-2 before suffering a four-game skid. Three of the losses were to ranked teams and two of the others came in close games. Ferndale’s victims include highly-ranked 2A power Squalicum.

Oak Harbor has had trouble with tall teams, and Ferndale will be another challenge. The Eagles’ top two scorers are their biggest. Six-foot-seven Jake Schroeder averages 10.6 points per game and 6-4 Daniel Canzater 10.3.  Aiden Sands averages 7.5 per game and then five others average at least five points per game to balance out the attack.

It was apparent early that Oak Harbor’s game at Glacier Peak wasn’t going to be another upset. After the Wildcats went up 4-1 in the first minute of the game, the Grizzlies reeled off 10 straight points and dominated from there.

GP led 15-8, 22-13 and 43-23 at the quarters.

Glacier Peak upped the margin to 52-26 in the fourth quarter before the Wildcat reserves finished the game on an 11-2 run.

The Grizzlies’ rugged man-to-man defense gave Oak Harbor fits. After shooting a sizzling 55 percent at Shorewood, the Wildcats managed only 26 percent (11-for-42) against GP and were 0-for-8 from three-point range.

The game was physical and the Grizzlies roughed-up the Wildcats as they attempted to attack the hoop. Mike Washington Jr. led Oak Harbor with 15 points, but nine of those came at the line. He hit only three of 18 shots against the attacking Grizzlies.

The remainder of the Oak Harbor starters didn’t fare much better, sinking only two of 11 shots, and no other starter had more than Drew Washington’s three points.

Glacier Peak also took away Oak Harbor long-range attack, allowing Drew Washington, the Wildcats’ three-point specialist, only one attempt from beyond the arc.

While the Grizzly defense was stopping Oak Harbor, Oak Harbor’s defense couldn’t stop Zach Pederson. The 6-6 post hit 11-of-16 shots and scored 26 points; at one point late in the game he had as many points as Oak Harbor.

For the game, Glacier Peak shot 45.8 percent (22-for-48); it shot 57 percent from two-point range.

Oak Harbor out-rebounded Glacier Peak 34-31, but committed 14 turnovers to the Grizzlies’ seven and was outscored 12-2 off those turnovers.

Washington Jr. also led Oak Harbor in rebounds with seven; Kevawn Brooks had six.

Zach Gibbs was the second highest Wildcat scorer with only five points. Elias Whitefoot scored four; and Gabe Groenig, Zack Jones, JoJo Webster, Brooks and Chris Hailer had two each.

Coach Mike Washington Sr. said, “They were more aggressive than us. That caused us to get frustrated, and when frustration set in we didn’t handle it well.”

He added, “They are a physical team and we aren’t.”

That problem was magnified when two of Oak Harbor’s most physical players were injured in the game. Dayne Herron rolled his ankle and played sparingly, and Brooks tweaked his knee and his minutes were limited in the second half. Adding to the problem, post Paul Johannsen is out for the year with mononucleosis.

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