Stanwood High School has both the best boys and girls basketball teams in the Wesco 3A North, and maybe all of the Western Conference, and both received a bit of a scare from Oak Harbor Friday Jan. 18. Then came the fourth quarter.
In the boys game at Stanwood, the Spartans (8-1, 11-5) won 65-39. Stanwood (9-0, 14-2) won the girls game in Oak Harbor 58-32. Both games followed the same pattern.
In the boys, Stanwood led by two points after the first quarter, 15-13, and by five at halftime 28-23.
In the girls, Stanwood led by three points after the first quarter, 10-7, and by six at halftime, 26-20.
The spread heading into the fourth quarter was 11 in both (45-34, boys; 41-30, girls), and the Oak Harbor teams were still within striking distance of an upset. The Spartans made sure that didn't happen. The Stanwood boys blitzed Oak Harbor 20-5 in the final period while the Spartan girls sprinted away from the Wildcats 17-2.
The Spartan boys start a front line that stands 6-10, 6-7, 6-5 (Oak Harbor's tallest player is 6-4) and each grabbed eight rebounds to help Stanwood dominate the boards 48-25, including 17-6 at the offensive end. The result was a 16-2 edge in second-chance points. The big boys weren't the only rebounding demons; 5-9 Josh Thayer snared a team-high nine and scored 12 points.
Drew Stang, 6-7, and Cannen Roberson, 6-5, each scored 14 points.
Oak Harbor's Chris Hailer had a game-high 15 points and JoJo Webster collected 13. That was about it for the Oak Harbor offense with no one else getting more than the three of Dayne Herron and Drew Washington. Gabe Groenig and Dyllan Harris scored two and Tony Stewart one.
The Wildcats suffered through their second-straight poor shooting night, hitting only 30 percent (15-for-50) to 40.7 percent for the Spartans (24-for-59). The Wildcats were particularly off from beyond the arc, making only 19 percent (4-for-21). Stanwood was 7-for-19 (37 percent) in three-point shooting.
Coach Mike Washington said, "We played well through three quarters. Their size wore us down in the fourth and they started making their shots."
With four games left, the Oak Harbor boys (4-5, 8-8) and can wrap up a district tournament spot with a win over visiting Everett (2-7, 5-11) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.
In the girls game, Oak Harbor trailed 19-10 in the second quarter then went on a 9-0 run to even the score. The Spartans then went on their own run, 15-1, that spanned halftime and set the tone for the big final period.
Oak Harbor hit only one of 11 shots in the fourth quarter, while the Spartans sank seven of 13, including five straight at one point.
For the game, the Wildcats made only 22 percent of their shots (11-for-49); the Spartans doubled that effort (44 percent, 24-for-54).
Stanwood out rebounded Oak Harbor 37-27 and had fewer turnovers, 14-19.
Rachel Swartz, 6-3, topped Stanwood with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Annie Leete scored 17 for Oak Harbor, Ciera Wiser eight, Kelsey Rankin four, Deja Bunch two and Jalani Bobo one.
Wiser pulled in nine rebounds, Rankin seven.
Coach Trisha Wieber said, "We played well in the first half and then faded. Kelsey and Ciera never gave in. They battled hard against big posts all night. We took care of the ball much better last night, we just don't have much depth so it's challenging to put a whole game together."
It's crunch time for the Wildcat girls (2-7, 5-11) who currently sit as the first team out in district qualifying. They go to Everett (3-6, 7-9) at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23.