Sports

Cats can’t overcome Monroe avalanche

Oak Harbor’s Grant Bull (No. 24) drives in the first half against Monroe. Bull led the Wildcats with 11 points in their 71-44 loss to the Bearcats on Thursday night. - Rick Levin
Oak Harbor’s Grant Bull (No. 24) drives in the first half against Monroe. Bull led the Wildcats with 11 points in their 71-44 loss to the Bearcats on Thursday night.
— image credit: Rick Levin

The Oak Harbor boys basketball team had to wait two extra days to face Monroe after the recent snowstorm moved the game to Thursday night.

They might have wanted to wait a lot longer.

The two-day delay had no obvious effects on the Bearcats as they stormed out to a 28-12 first-quarter lead on their way to a 71-44 victory over the Wildcats.

“They had two days off also and they had to travel,” said head coach Bryan Schulle after the game. “If anything Monroe should have came out slow. We were not ready – they were fired up.”

The Bearcats used a ferocious full-court press and crisp passing to confound the Cats, who when not turning the ball over in the backcourt were not getting their shots to fall.

“We missed a lot of shots,” said Schulle. “We had opportunities but we just didn’t convert. You have to score when you have the chances.”

After Monroe took an early 4-0 lead, the Wildcats came storming back. Jon Jansen got the Cats first bucket of the night in transition, followed by a Grant Bull three-pointer. Chris Raimundi then made two straight hoops to give Oak Harbor a 10-9 lead midway through the first.

At that point the bottom fell out for the Wildcats. Monroe’s stifling defense led to a bushel of easy baskets in transition and a 16-0 run by the Bearcats. In the meantime, the Cats couldn’t get a shot to fall when they did brake the Monroe press. Trailing 25-10 late in the quarter, Raimundi stopped the bleeding with two free throws, but any momentum gained was lost when the Bearcats nailed a three at the buzzer to end the period.

Looking for a spark, Schulle put four reserves on the floor to begin the second quarter. Though lacking in experience, the second team played well, helping the Cats outscore Monroe 10-7 during the period.

“They might not have made great decisions, but they played with a lot of heart,” Schulle said about the second team’s play. “They looked at playing as a privilege.”

Down by 13 at the half, Oak Harbor’s chances of getting back in the contest were shattered almost from the start of the second half. Monroe hit several three-pointers and extended their lead at one point to 48-25. The Wildcats had a nice 8-0 run near the end of the third quarter, but by then it was too late. Bull was the Cats leading scorer with 11 points, while junior Joseph Cavitt added six. Senior Jacob Ovalle chipped in with four points.

The Bearcats did an excellent job of taking away the Wildcats inside game, holding the 6-foot-4 Jansen to just five points on the night. Earlier in the month when the Wildcats won four out of five games, Jansen’s inside scoring opened up things outside for his teammates.

“That’s when we had our success,” said Schulle. “We haven’t done a good job of getting him the ball lately.”

With the loss Oak Harbor dropped to 3-9 in league play while Monroe improved to 4-8. The Cats road doesn’t get any easier. Because of the two-day snow delay, the team had to turn around and face Snohomish the next night (results will be published in Wednesday’s edition of the Whidbey News-Times). The Panthers are in second place in the WesCo North Division and sport a 11-3 overall record.

“It’s going to be a long night,” said Schulle. “I couldn’t think of a worse way to go into the Snohomish game. Maybe we got it out of our system.”

Next up for the Cats is an away game at Lake Stevens on Tuesday night. Oak Harbor won a 63-61 double-overtime thriller when they faced the Vikings on Jan. 4.

Monroe 71, Oak Harbor 44

At Oak Harbor H.S.

Monroe – 28 7 21 15 – 71

Oak Harbor – 12 10 11 11 – 44

Monroe: Sasser 13, Woods 4, Hammerquest 7, Walsh 8, Waite 21, Lewis 9, Manthe 4, Snyder 5. Oak Harbor: Fulgham 2, Van Dyke 3, Lobbestael 4, Cavitt 6, Jansen 5, Bull 11, Raimundi 6, Brown 3, Ovalle 4. 3-point goals: Sasser 1, Hammerquest 1, Waite 2, Snyder 1, Van Dyke 1, Cavitt 1, Bull 2. JV score: Oak Harbor defeated Monroe. Records: Oak Harbor 3-9 in league, 4-12 overall. Monroe 4-8, 4-12.

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