Sports

Wildcats flounder after fast start

Oak Harbor’s Jon Jensen (center) eyes a first-quarter rebound as he is surrounded by Arlington Eagles. Below: Sophomore John Loebbestael prepares to take a foul shot in the Wildcats’ 63-52 loss to Arlington last Friday. The Cats went 20-of-25 from the line against the Eagles. - Matt Moss
Oak Harbor’s Jon Jensen (center) eyes a first-quarter rebound as he is surrounded by Arlington Eagles. Below: Sophomore John Loebbestael prepares to take a foul shot in the Wildcats’ 63-52 loss to Arlington last Friday. The Cats went 20-of-25 from the line against the Eagles.
— image credit: Matt Moss

Despite opening the game with a five and a six-point lead in the first quarter, the Oak Harbor boys basketball team fell to Arlington 63-52 last Friday.

The Wildcats jumped out early on the Eagles, grabbing a 5-0 lead. Halfway through the first quarter Oak Harbor went up 11-5 when junior swingman Grant Bull made a great steal and passed the ball to center Jon Jansen for an easy bucket.

That was as big as the lead got. The Eagles ripped off eight straight points and ended the period with a 13-11 lead over the Cats.

The second quarter proved to be the Wildcats’ undoing. Behind the play of senior forward Michael Klein, Arlington outscored the Cats 21-16 in the quarter. Klein had 15 of the Eagles’ points, mostly from the inside as the Eagles were consistently able to get inside positioning on the Wildcats.

“They did a good job with their dribble penetration,” said Wildcats head coach Bryan Schulle after the game. “We tried to take away their inside game and we couldn’t get it done.”

Oak Harbor tried to hang on during the run. The inside game that was effective during the first quarter evaporated and the Cats had to start relying on their outside shooting.

“They switched up their defense on us and we couldn’t adjust,” lamented Schulle.

Sophomore guard Jeremy Brown was fouled attempting to make a three-pointer and sunk all three free-throws to bring the Wildcats within four at 27-23. Dan VanDyke and Austin Fulgham also hit three-pointers during the quarter as the Cats trailed 34-27 at the half.

Bull again lead the team in scoring with 18 points on the night. The 6-foot-1 junior took over on offense for the Wildcats in the third. He scored Oak Harbor’s first two baskets of the half and got the game to 34-31 before Arlington’s senior point guard Bryan Luce hit a crucial three-pointer to move the Eagle lead back to six. Luce hit another big three midway through the period as Arlington was able to maintain a steady lead throughout the quarter.

“We ask a lot of Grant,” Schulle said. “We’re looking for offense other than Grant, we’re just searching for offense.”

On the next possession the lights went out. Not on the Wildcats’ game, but on the court. A power surge knocked out the lights at the Oak Harbor high gym and there was a 10-minute delay before they came back on. Play resumed but Arlington was able to hold on to its lead.

“We’ve been playing teams that get up on us by about eight or 10 and we can’t get closer,” Schulle said. “The only thing that kept us in it was our foul shooting.”

The Cats had one last shot. After a brief run that brought the score to 57-50, VanDyke had an open look at a three that just barely rimmed out. Arlington then went down and hit a basket that put the game away.

“We really needed Dan to make that shot,” Schulle said. “It didn’t fall, but he looked for his shot a lot more tonight which is a good sign.”

With the loss the Wildcats fell to 0-3 in the WesCo 4A North Division and 0-6 overall. Oak Harbor traveled to Monroe for a game with the Bearcats last night (results will be published in the Saturday edition of the News-Times).

It doesn’t get any easier for the Cats as the last game on their schedule before the holiday break is at Snohomish on Dec. 21. The Panthers, one of the league favorites, are sporting a 4-0 record as of Tuesday. Schulle knows that his team will have its hands full in Snohomish.

“I was talking with the Arlington coach before the game and we both agreed that besides Stanwood and Snohomish that the league was wide-open this year,” he said.

Schulle believes his young charges are doing their best.

“We had three sophomores and two juniors on the court for most of the game. They’re trying but they’re young. I would never question their effort, but we lack experience.”

Arlington 63, Oak Harbor 52

At Oak Harbor H.S.

Arlington – 13 21 13 16 - 63

Oak Harbor – 11 16 11 14 - 52

Arlington: Bourasaw 6, Luce 9, Jefferson 5, McCormack 12, Twitchell 6, Fletcher 1, Boitano 2, Klein 20, Newell 2. Oak Harbor: Fulgham 5, DeLano 2, VanDyke 7, Loebbestael 2, Bull 18, Raimundi 4, Brown 5, Jansen 9. 3-point goals-Fulgham 1, VanDyke 1, Luce 3. JV score-Arlington 65, Oak Harbor 45 Records-Arlington 1-2 in league, 1-5 overall. Oak Harbor 0-3, 0-6.

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