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Cats steal thunder from Birds
"Karma, it may be coming back around for the Wildcat boys' basketball team. After going just 1-8 before winter break, Oak Harbor has slam dunked two impressive wins in a row. During the first half of their game against Shorewood, Thunderbird Nick Krismunando hit five three pointers as fans watched the Cats fall behind by four entering half time. But the Wildcats put together a second half that included a 21-3 run and resulted in an Oak Harbor win, 61-53. The biggest player for the Cats was senior Chad Riepma, who had 17 for the game.Chad has played hard the last couple of games and taken on the leadership role through his actions, said Hunter. He only came to the bench once this game and he was just huge. He knew one of their guys was in foul trouble and so he wanted the ball. He is just stepping up his game. Senior Josh Brown also had 13, while senior guard Tony Hall put in 12 as the Cats were able to distribute the ball evenly throughout the game to keep the T-birds on their heels. If we can have three guys in double digits every game, that is a big key to winning, said Riepma. That is at least 30 points right there and in high school, that's a pretty good score.We just need guys to step up and score, get rebounds, turnovers and hopefully we will win, said Brown. The ball distribution also helped on the boards as Oak Harbor outrebounded Shorewood 21-11. Brown, who was a monster on the boards, also helped his team with two mammoth blocked shots during the first half. Austin Fulgham kept the Cats from falling too far behind during the first quarter and then gave them the lead heading into the second as he hit two three pointers and had eight points during the period. The second quarter belonged to the T-Birds as they jumped out ahead of the Cats.The third quarter didn't start off too well for Oak Harbor, as Shorewood's Paul Tikka popped in five quick points to give the Thunderbirds their biggest lead of the game, 36-27. The lead was the last for the Shorewood. Oak Harbor would proceed to go on a 21-3 romp as they outrebounded, outshot, outhustled and just plain outplayed the T-Birds. When the run ended the Cats were up by their largest margin of the game, 48-39. One huge key, according to Hunter, was that the team started to play extremely aggressive. The Oak Harbor players got in the face of the Shorewood players on their bombs from somewhere in Larry Bird's zip code.Basically we changed our defense to extend out to the three-point shooters, said Riepma. They kept shooting them but they were getting harder looks and shooting them from further back.Another big key for the Cats was the play of the bench. During most of the game Hall led the Cats offense and made good decisions. According to Hunter, Hall played so hard and was dribbling so much that he had to pull him during the third quarter for sophomore Dwight Gooding in order to give him some rest. The offense didn't lose a beat with Gooding, and Hunter chose the right time as Oak Harbor increased its lead.Tony's shoes are big and their is a lot to fill there, said Riepma. But Dwight is the same kind of player and he is young. We didn't miss a beat with him in there. We know that we have a pretty good bench, said sophomore Grant Bull. We are all friends and whoever is coming in we know they are going to do their job because we play with them every day. Shorewood made a push towards the end of the game but it was too little too late. Krismunando, who was hot during the first half, was ice cold from beyond the arc. We just had more hustle and we knew who their shooter was, said Hall. We knew that basically if we stopped them from making threes we could stop their whole progress of their team.It got so bad for him that one of his shots floated under the net for an air ball and the Oak Harbor fans proceeded to let him know where the ball ended up if he didn't see it. My key was to get 13 (Krismunando) tired, said Hall. I wanted to get him so tired that when he got on offense he had no energy to take a jumper.Oak Harbor played at Kamiak for a game last night but the results were not available at press time. Oak Harbor 61, Shorewood 53Shorewood 13 18 8 14 - 53Oak Harbor 14 13 15 19 - 61Shorewood: Krismunando 22, Butterfield 5, Tikka 15, Ferris 2,Bender 2, Smith 7. Oak Harbor: Hall 12, Denton 4, Bull 5, Fulgham 8, Brown 13, Riepma 17, Gooding 2. 3-point goals: Krismunando 6, Tikka 1, Smith 1, Bull 1, Fulgham 2, Brown 1. JV-Oak Harbor def. Shorewood. Records: Shorewood 0-4 in league, 2-7 overall. Oak Harbor 1-4, 3-8. "