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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 Harbors 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 Harbors 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 didnt 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, Stanwoods 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 Stanwoods Josh Ellingson helped the Spartans forge a 42-40 lead early in the fourth quarter.Thats 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 Harbors 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."