Junior Annie Leete scored 32 points but the Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team needed two more as it was edged 65-63 at Everett Wednesday, Jan. 23.
The loss put a crimp in Oak Harbor's effort to secure a spot in the district tournament. Oak Harbor is now 2-8 (5-12 overall) in the Wesco standings and in fourth place in the North, one game out of third. The top three move on.
Oak Harbor goes to Shorecrest (6-4, 9-8) Friday, Jan. 25, then has a critical home showdown at 7:15 p.m. Monday with Marysville-Pilchuck (3-7, 5-11), who is one game up on the Wildcats. Oak Harbor finishes the regular season at Marysville Getchell (0-10, 2-15) Wednesday.
Everett (4-6, 8-9) started the season 7-2 and was regarded as one of Wesco's top teams. The Seagulls lost several key players to the school's athletic conduct policy in late December and have dropped six straight. The win over Oak Harbor gave the Seagulls a two-game edge over the Wildcats with three left.
There is an old adage that a game can't end on a foul because officials don't want a game to be decided by a whistle during the final second.
In the Everett contest, Leete appeared to be hammered as she tried a game-winning three at the end, but no call followed.
In the final minute, Oak Harbor trailed 64-59 when Kelsey Rankin hit the first of two free throws. After Everett's Darian Rielly missed a free throw and Rankin rebounded, Leete sank a three with 12 seconds left to put Oak Harbor within one, 64-63.
Oak Harbor fouled Reilly again, and the Seagull hit the first of two, setting up Leete's final shot.
The game started as a shootout. After Everett led 12-6, Oak Harbor bounced back to lead 22-21 after the first quarter. Leete led the charge with 11 points, including a trio of threes, and Jalani Bobo added nine points.
Everett led 37-33 at the break. Oak Harbor came from seven down to lead 52-48 heading into the fourth.
Leete drilled eight three-pointers en route to her 32-point night, all while Everett ran a box-and-one defense designed to slow her down. She also had five rebounds and three steals.
Bobo ended with 14 points, five boards and three assists.
Rankin added nine points and nine rebounds, and Natalie Fiallos recorded six points, five assists and four steals.
Cierra Wiser pulled down 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, had three steals and scored two points.
Oak Harbor coach Trisha Wieber praised the efforts of Leete and Rankin for playing while sick.
She added, "The girls played a great game, with a frustrating end. Annie played very well. Jalani had 13 points in the first half and got some girls in foul trouble. Ciera rebounded the heck out of the ball, and Kelsey played very well on defense."
Rielly scored 25 points and Kiki Harper 16 for the Seagulls.