Panthers nip ’Cats 41-40

Losing is often difficult for a team to accept and even more bitter when the loss is by a single point.

A one-point loss at home was what the Oak Harbor High School basketball team had to deal with Wednesday night when Snohomish overcame a four-point deficit with 1:03 remaining in the fourth quarter to defeat the Wildcats 41-40 in a WesCo North heartbreaker.

The loss was the first of the season for the Wildcats who are 2-1 in league games and 4-1 overall.

The Panthers held an 11-7 lead after the first eight minutes of play, thanks to getting a lot of second-chance shots at the basket.

Junior forward Katie Benson had the hot hand for Snohomish in the first quarter, scoring seven of her team-high 11 points.

Oak Harbor pulled things together in the second period with Mietra Smollack and Jennifer Jansen scoring four points each, and Jessica Denmon adding a 3-point bomb to put 13 points on the board and tie the score 20-20 at halftime.

“I felt like we played hard and played tough,” coach Brett McLeod said. “For the most part, I was happy with the way we played.”

The Wildcats did a good job getting in the passing lanes the entire game and forced the Panthers to turn the ball over 17 times.

In the second half, Oak Harbor did much better blocking out and controlling the boards at both ends of the court to cut down on the Panthers’ second-chance opportunities.

Oak Harbor went on a 6-0 run to open the third quarter to hold a 26-20 lead at the 3:28 mark.

“I thought we did some good things and it was a defensive battle for the most part,” McLeod said. “All it would have taken was one possession that could have made the difference and it could have been any possession at any point.”

Smollack scored six points in the quarter and Denmon added four.

Snohomish fought back on the three-point shooting of Karley Lampman and Allison Burns, and the score remained tied 30-30 heading into the final eight minutes of play.

With 1:03 left in the game, Oak Harbor held a 40-36 lead when Emily Guthrie nailed a 3-point basket for the Panthers with 33 seconds on the clock to shave the lead to a single point.

After a missed free throw, the Panthers controlled the rebound and coach Ken Roberts called a time out.

Then, with less than 14 seconds remaining, Snohomish brought the ball down the floor and senior Shante Scott hit a jump shot in the paint for the winning basket.

“They got the ball in the key and made a tough shot,” McLeod said.

Oak Harbor made one desperate attempt to pull the game out, but Denmon’s shot as the buzzer sounded was off the mark.

Smollack scored a game-high 18 points for the Wildcats and Denmon had nine.

Snohomish 41, Oak Harbor 40

Snohomish 11 9 10 11 — 41

Oak Harbor 7 13 10 10 — 40

Snohomish (41) — Katie Benson 5 1-2 11, Emily Guthrie 1 0-0 3, Karley Lampman 3 0-0 7, Allison Burns 1 0-0 3, Marjorie Heard 3 0-0 6, Molly Miller 1 0-0 2, Kristine Fairbanks 0 0-0 0, Shante Scott 3 0-0 6, Juliet Desmarais 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 1-2 41.

Oak Harbor (40) — Mietra Smollack 6 5-9 18, Jessica Denmon 3 2-2 9, Cheyenne Tubo 0 0-0 0, Clair Thiel 1 0-0 2, Janay Baeyen 1 0-0 2, Jennifer Jansen 2 3-5 7, Roshaunda Smith 0 0-0 0, Jasmine Chong 1 0-0 2, Cori Henricksen 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 10-16 40.

Three-point goals — Snohomish 4 (Desmarias, Lampman, Burns, Guthrie); Oak Harbor 2 (Denmon, Smollack). Turnovers — Snohomish 17, Oak Harbor 10. Total fouls — Snohomish 16, Oak Harbor 11. Fouled out — Benson.

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