Oak Harbor girls team falls short

"In the second quarter of Wednesday's game between Oak Harbor and Squalicum, 6-foot-3 center Sarah Smith towered over the Wildcats and swatted away a shot by an Oak Harbor player for a thunderous rejection. Despite this tower of power in the middle for Squalicum, the Wildcats hustled and scrapped for everything they got. But in the end Oak Harbor (1-2) came up short of knocking off the Storm and lost for the second time, 65-58.Early in the season it's not bad to have a close one and the experience of what it's like to be in a close game, Oak Harbor coach Dwight Lundstrum said after the game.During the fourth quarter, the score was tied with just two minutes remaining. But Squalicum (1-2) pulled ahead and shut the door as both teams traded free throws for the final minute and a half. The biggest player for the Storm in the fourth was not Smith, but Kelli Kosa, who had 11 of her game high 23. The Cats had to double team Smith to keep her out of the key, which opened up Kosa to pour in the shots. We were keeping her out of ... well, we call it turd alley, said Molly Bull. She was big so when she got it all we could do was block her vision.Bull could be heard from the stands shrieking in the faces of the Storm players during the fourth to do anything to interfere with their concentration. No. 23 (Kosa) lost her concentration and threw the ball away a couple of times and that is the purpose of it, to get them to make their own mistake so we don't have to foul them, said Bull who scored six point for Oak Harbor. Marcella Manibusan was the Cats' second highest scorer with 13 and Jamie Armstrong had 11 points.I willed my shots to go in, said Armstrong. Lundstrum told me to will it in and I fallowed his advice.The leading scorer for the Wildcats was 5-foot-2 Valerie Hartman, who took more shots at the line than from the field for her 19 points. Free throws, said Hartman about her scoring. I made a lot of free throws. Hartman scored 12 of her 19 points from the line and shot 80 percent from the charity stripe. During a season where fouls are a big key for all teams, Oak Harbor dominated at the line, making 21-of-29, which is a far cry from their first game when they shot 14-of-46. One of our team goals this year is to have 70 percent of our free throws to go in, said Armstrong. Coach Lundstrum told us we had to hit our freethrows because we are going to the line a lot and it is a big factor.According to the Cats head coach, this game was not like the previous two for Oak Harbor.They didn't call it like we have been having games called, said Lundstrum. It was kind of confusing. They called it different than we're used to. It's a tough deal for the kids to figure out how to play when they called the first two games tight and this one wasn't as tight.The game looked like it would be a dismal one for the Cats in the opening minutes, as Oak Harbor could not hit its shots and Squalicum jumped out to a 14-2 lead. We didn't shoot well all night, said Lundstrum. I'm not sure why we're having so much trouble shooting right now. The good news is that we have a history of it coming progressively with the season.The shooting was so bad for the Cats that only one of their first eight shots made it through the net. We were a little slow to start off but we didn't want to lose by a lot, said Hartman. We just picked it up as a team and pulled it back together.The Cats would claw their way back with a 13-2 run to end the first only down by one. Oak Harbor fueled the rally by forcing seven straight Squalicum turnovers. The only thing that saved the Cats in the second was free throws and mistake by the Storm. Squalicum committed 10 fouls in the first half to Oak Harbor's two. All but two of the Cats points in the second quarter came at the line, as Armstrong hit the only bucket from the floor. The Cats played Mountlake Terrace last night but the results were not available at press time. SQUALICUM 65, OAK HARBOR 58Squalicum 16 15 9 25 - 65Oak Harbor 15 7 18 18 - 58Squalicum: Grunhurd 2, May 2, Volland 12, Kosa 23, Cozad 4, Smith 22. Oak Harbor: Bull 6, Hartman 19, Manibusan 13, King 2, Bratt 2, Armstrong 11, White 2, Spears 3. 3-point goals-Kosa 2, Manibusan 2, Hartman 1. JV: Oak Harbor def. Squalicum. Records: Squalicum 1-2. Oak Harbor 1-2. "

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