Wildcats dump Tomahawks 51-41

Home court was once again no advantage for the Marysville-Pilchuck High School girls basketball team in its third meeting of the season against Oak Harbor.

During the regular season, the Wildcats were 74-71 double overtime winners at Marysville on Jan. 10 and then lost 47-43 to the Tomahawks the final game of the WesCo North season Feb. 6 in Oak Harbor.

Tuesday’s rubber game of the series at the Northwest District Class 4A tournament was the most important of the three matchups between the teams.

The winner remained alive in the hunt for the district’s No. 3 seed to the state tournament, while the loser would have to wait until next season to play again.

In the end, it came down to who wanted the game more, and this time it was Oak Harbor that sent the Tomahawks packing with a 51-41 victory.

“We came to battle tonight and when we bring it like that, we’re a tough team to beat,” coach Brett McLeod said.

The Wildcats were fired up and ready to play right from the opening tip.

Marysville-Pilchuck took a 5-2 lead at the 5:50 mark of the first quarter, but that was the last time Tomahawks would hold more a than a two-point advantage.

A free throw by Clair Thiel and a basket by Mietra Smollack, the first of her 10 in the game, tied the score.

The Tomahawks held a temporary 7-5 lead when Shaelei Lucas scored, but Janay Baeyen tied the

game 7-7 with a basket and Jessica Denmon’s hoop with 1:13 remaining in the quarter put the Widcats in front to stay.

Cheyenne Tubo drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key for Oak Harbor with 43 second left, and the first quarter came to an end with the Wildcats holding a 14-9 lead.

The second quarter was all Smollack, and the first-team all league player scored all 11 points to keep the Wildcats on top, 25-20, at halftime.

Smollack finished with a game-high 27 points and said she was really happy with the win.

“I knew we had to win this game,” she said. “We have five seniors on our team that didn’t want this one to be our last game. I knew I had to push it and I did.”

Oak Harbor upped the lead to 34-24 on a Cori Henricksen hoop at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter, but then the Tomahawks began pressuring on defensive end of the court.

A series of Wildcat turnovers resulted in easy Marysville-Pilchuck baskets and within a span of two minutes, the lead had shrunk to 34-31.

Smollack broke the run with a hoop and Oak Harbor went into the final eight minutes of play clinging to a 36-32 lead.

In the fourth quarter, it was the Wildcats’ defense that took the game over.

Thiel, Henricksen and Tubo turned their level of play up a notch and Smollack scored six points from the charity stripe as Oak Harbor began to put the score out of reach.

“Holy smokes, I don’t know what to say,” an excited Theil said after the game. “It was amazing. We were so energetic and so ready to play. We wanted it way more than they did and it’s one more step to state for us.”

The 6-foot, 2-inch senior finished the game with eight points.

The diminutive 4-foot, 11-inch Tubo was a first-class floor general running the offense, and also made four steals.

“We wanted to win this game and we did,” she said. “Now we get to celebrate the way they did at our place.”

Tubo scored six points for the Wildcats and Denmon had five.

“I think part of it was we were here last year and we know what it takes,” McLeod said. “This was one of the goals we set when we walked out of here last year after losing twice. Now we need one more win to reach the state championships and anything can happen.”

Anna West led Marysville-Pilchuck with 12 points, while leading scorer Brit Harris was held to a mere seven points.

Oak Harbor played WesCo North rival Snohomish last night in Marysville for the right to advance to state playoff competition.

The results of that game were not available at press time.

Oak Harbor 51,

Marysville-Pilchuck 41

Oak Harbor 14 11 11 15 — 51

M-P 9 11 12 9 — 41

Oak Harbor (51) — Mietra Smollack 10 7-10 27, Clair Thiel 3 2-6 8, Cheyenne Tubo 1 3-4 6, Jessica Denmon 2 0-0 5, Janay Baeyen 1 1-2 3, Jennifer Jansen 0 0-2 0, Cori Henricksen 1 0-0 2, Roshaunda Smith 0 0-0 0, Jasmine Chong 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 13-24 51.

Marysville-Pilchuck (41) — Anna West 4 2-2 12, Shaelei Lewis 4 0-0 8, Nicole Peterson 1 0-0 3, Jessica Masters 3 0-0 7, Brit Harris 3 1-4 7, Morgan Martinis 0 0-0 0, Kylie Fordon 1 0-0 2, Dacia Heckendorf 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 3-6 41.

Three-point goals — Oak Harbor 2 (Tubo, Denmon); Marysville-Pilchuck 4 (West 2, Peterson, Masters); Turnovers — Oak Harbor 21, Marysville-Pilchuck 20. Total fouls — Oak Harbor 10, Marysville-Pilchuck 19. Fouled out — Masters.

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