Wildcats win third in a row

"After coming out on the short end of some dramatic home games this season, Oak Harbor basketball coach Frank Hunter was happy to simply grind out a victory.The Wildcats built an early lead and fought off a feisty Stanwood squad down the stretch for a 58-49 win Tuesday night. Oak Harbor’s Garret Stone scored three breakaway baskets in a row in the fourth quarter — including a dunk — to break open a tight game.It was Oak Harbor’s third victory in a row, and came in front of a home crowd that included several Oak Harbor graduates back for the holidays.“It was nice to get a home win,” Hunter said.The Wildcats were popping from the start. Two baskets apiece by Eric Marshall and Garrett Stone gave the Wildcats an 8-0 lead three minutes into the game. Stanwood didn’t score until 1:16 remained in the first quarter, when Justin Steele sank a jumper to make it 10-2.The Spartans then mounted a 10-2 run of their own, including two Steele 3-pointers that knotted the score at 12-12 early in the second quarter. When Oak Harbor tried to pull away, the pesky Spartans refused to die. A Ryan Appleby jumper trimmed the Wildcat lead to 22-20 late in the second quarter. And back and forth it went. When Stone converted 3-point play, Stanwood’s Marcus Steele answered with a 3-pointer. A Jay Hartman 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 28-23 Wildcats at the half.Oak Harbor built a 36-25 lead in the third quarter, and again Stanwood scratched to hang on. A Justin Steele jumper and three Marcus Steele free throws cut the lead to 36-30. The free throw shooting and inside play of Stanwood’s Josh Ellingson helped the Spartans forge a 42-40 lead early in the fourth quarter.That’s when Oak Harbor applied the defensive pressure that won the game. “I thought our press slowed them down,” Hunter said. The Wildcats’ forced three consecutive turnovers leading to the three baskets by Stone. That pushed Oak Harbor to a 51-44 lead with 3:43 to play. Oak Harbor’s Brett Waller (10 points) answered with two buckets, Stone added a jumper and Hartman hit two free throws to seal the victory.Oak Harbor shot 49 percent (25-of-51) from the field. Eric Marshall was the second-leading Wildcat scorer for the game, with 12 points.OAK HARBOR 58, STANWOOD 49Stanwood 7 16 16 10 — 49Oak Harbor 12 16 12 18 — 58Stanwood: Appleby 2, McCauley 5, M. Steele 13, J. Steele 10, Anderson 4, Ellingson 15. Oak Harbor: Waller 10, Marshall 13, Stone 20, Hartman 7, Morgan 4, Riepma 4. 3 pointers: Hartman 1, M. Steele 1, J. Steele 2."

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