Fourth quarter hurts Wolves

MILL CREEK—Sometimes the final score doesn’t represent the way an entire game was played. That was the case in Oak Harbor’s 67-52 single elimination, sub-regional loss at Jackson Saturday night.

Facing a much taller team, the Wildcats did not back down in the early going against the Timberwolves. Three 6-foot-5 and three 6-foot-4 players could not stop the Cats from pulling down rebounds and winning loose balls.

“They were kicking out butts on the boards,” Jackson head coach Stephen Johnson said. “You have to give them some credit, they played very hard and battled.”

Behind the hustle play of juniors Chris Raimundi and Nate Metcalf Oak Harbor maintained a 17-16 lead after the first quarter.

“They (Raimundi and Metcalf) played really hard,” Oak Harbor head coach Bryan Schulle said. “They were defending taller and really athletic kids, they did a really nice job.”

The hot shooting of junior Jeremy Brown also helped the Cats to their early advantage. Brown was 2 for 2 from three-point range and had eight points for the first quarter.

Despite pulling down 12 offensive rebounds in the the second quarter, Oak Harbor was unable to put in their second chance opportunities and take a solid advantage over Jackson.

“We got second, third, fourth shots sometimes but those shots just didn’t go,” Schulle said.

With the final seconds ticking off the clock before the half, Raimundi banked in a three-point shot from the left side. The buzzer-beater pulled the Cats to within three, 31-28, going into the locker room.

Oak Harbor maintained its intensity to begin the second half. After Brown nailed his fourth three-point shot of the night and senior Jon Jansen hit two free-throws with 3:24 left in the third, the Cats matched their largest lead of the game, 37-33. In a back-and-forth battle, the period ended in a 43-43 tie.

The fourth quarter was a different story for Oak Harbor, who got off to a rough start. The Cats were out-scored 10-2 in the opening minutes behind athletic play of Jackson’s Craig Chambers. The senior, who will be attending the University of Washington next year as a wide-receiver, exploded for 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three three-pointers. He finished with a game-high 19 points.

“Chambers played really well in that fourth quarter,” Schulle said.

The Oak Harbor offense disappeared in the fourth, as they were out-scored 24-9, resulting in their final game of the season.

“The kids played hard, they showed up tonight,” Schulle said. “If we could have just hit some of those easy baskets early. If we could have got up by six or eight right away, it would have changed the face of the game for Jackson.”

Brown led Oak Harbor with 15 points, followed by Jansen with eight and senior Mike Lacey with seven.

Despite the loss, there didn’t appear to be much disappointment in the Wildcat locker room afterwards. The team played their best basketball of the season of late, winning five out of their last six games to earn an opportunity at the district tournament.

“They could have quit a long time ago, they stuck it out,” Schulle said. “The kids got to play in a post-season game, the seniors got to play in a post-season game.”

Oak Harbor—17 11 15 9—52

Jackson— 16 15 12 24—67

Scoring—OH: Brown 15, Jansen 8, Lacey 7, White 6, Raimundi 6, Ferguson 6, Metcalf 4.

J: Chambers 19, Kirton 13, Hall 9, Apodaca 9, Simhouser 8, Keller 8, Sohn 1.

Records: Oak Harbor, 8-8 league, 8-13 overall; Jackson10-8 league, 13-8 overall.

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