Manibusan's seven three's sink Monroe

The Monroe Bearcats jumped out to an early 6-0 lead against the Oak Harbor girls basketball team on Wednesday night.

Was there a problem? Did the team panic?

Not a problem, not when you can call on Marcy Manibusan.

Manibusan, a senior shooting guard, drilled two quick three-pointers to tie the score at 6-6. She hit four first-period three-pointers and totaled a game-high 25 points leading the Wildcats to a 71-57 home victory over Monroe.

After the game Manibusan was happier with the win, which allowed the Wildcats to remain undefeated, than she was with her stat sheet.

“I really don’t care about that (the points),” she said. “I’m just glad we won the game and that we are having a great season.”

Manibusan was 9-of-14 shooting for the night and finished with seven three-points, most coming off the Oak Harbor fast-break.

The Wildcats came back from the early deficit and took a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter behind great shooting and even better defense. Led by senior point guard Valerie Hartman and junior Shirley Spears, the Cats press forced Monroe into turnovers that the team was able to take advantage of.

“We started out tight as usual,” said Wildcats assistant coach Warren Quinn who was leading the team on Wednesday night in the absence of head coach Dwight Lundstrom. “Our focus isn’t there at the beginning of games. We have to get up and down the court a couple of times to get going.”

Hartman hit a three to begin the second quarter then the Wildcats cooled off a bit. Monroe scored six straight points before the half to make it 34-24 at intermission.

In the second half another Wildcat starter picked things up. This time it was freshman post-player Heidi McNeill.

Limited to just a bucket in the first half, McNeill shined in the second, scoring 16 of her 18 points in the final 16 minutes. One sequence in the fourth quarter showed just how dominating the 6-foot-2 freshman can be. After Monroe cut the Cat lead to eight, McNeill got the ball at the free-throw line, made a move and drove to the hoop for a score. Seconds later, with the Wildcats on the break, McNeill went to the basket, received a pass in mid-air and layed it in. With that the lead was back to 12 and the Cats were never threatened again.

“Heidi has been so awesome,” said Manibusan about her teammate. “She has taken pressure off of Valerie and me to score. She is so aware on the court and she passes well as a freshman.”

Another bright spot for the Cats was sophomore Kaylea Kingma, who finished the contest with 15 points, including a first-quarter three-pointer of her own.

Manibusan has been pleased with how the first part of the Wildcats season has unfolded so far.

“I wasn’t quite expecting us to be undefeated,” she said. “We don’t back down – that’s what has taken us so far this season.”

With the win the Wildcats handed Monroe (3-1 in league, 4-4 overall) their first league loss. Things got tougher for the Wildcats on Friday night when they faced another undefeated squad. Oak Harbor hosted the 5-0 Snohomish Panthers in a matchup of the two top teams in the WesCo North Division (results will be published in the Wednesday edition of the News-Times).

“They have a dynasty, they’ve been running us for years,” Quinn said about the meeting with the Panthers. “In the four years I’ve been here we haven’t even had a lead against them. This is the time to do it. We have to come ready and be prepared.”

Oak Harbor 71, Monroe 57

At Oak Harbor H.S.

Monroe – 11 13 10 23 – 57

Oak Harbor – 21 13 12 25 – 71

Monroe: Bunge 2, Kay. Kolrud 2, Zimmerman 14, Kac. Kolrud 14, Herman 2, Blanchard 3, Muhammad 2, Moriarity 3, Barnes 15. Oak Harbor: McNeill 18, White 1, Hartman 7, Manibusan 25, Kingma 15, Spears 5. 3-point goals-Manibusan 7, Kingma 1, Hartman. JV score-Monroe 49, Oak Harbor 39. Records: Monroe 3-1 in league, 4-4 overall. Oak Harbor 4-0, 6-0.

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