Cats fall just short of district title

MARYSVILLE—It was a case of not being able to get over the hump for the Oak Harbor girls basketball team in their 46-44 Northwest 4A District championship loss to Lake Stevens Friday night.

“We showed a lot of heart, a lot of effort to come back like that and just fall short, that’s what hurts,” head coach Brett Mcleod said.

Battling from behind the entire game, the Wildcats pulled as close as they had been since trailing 2-0 in the first quarter on a clutch fourth-quarter shot by senior Shirley Spears. With a defender running at her, Spears connected on her fourth three-pointer of the night, bringing Oak Harbor to within two points, 46-44, with 1:54 remaining in the contest.

After the Spears shot, the offense dissipated for both teams in the final minutes.

Sophomore Amanda Watts rimmed out a potential game-tying runner with 1:10 left. Forced to foul to gain back possession, Oak Harbor lucked out. The Vikings missed the front ends of two one and one free throws down the stretch, giving the Cats one more opportunity to win or tie the game.

Only 10 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts, the Wildcats inbounded the ball from half court. With a foul to give, Lake Stevens hacked sophomore Heidi McNeill with four ticks left on the clock. Not able to call a timeout and set up a play, the Cats seemed flustered. Junior Jenny White was able to get up a three-pointer before the buzzer sounded but the hurried shot was well off the mark.

“We were running a different play, I don’t know if we heard the call, it was pretty loud in there,” McLeod said. “We didn’t have any timeouts, so it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, but she had a good look at it.”

Oak Harbor dug themselves a deep hole early, trailing 10-0 after the first three minutes of the game.

“We kind of came out jittery there in the beginning,” McLeod said.

An excessive amount of turnovers and the hot shooting of Viking senior Gina Carbonatto were large factors to the early deficit. Carbontto was a perfect from the field, hitting her first seven shots of the game.

After slowing things down in the second half, the Wildcats were able to regain their bearings.

“We did a better job of being patient and running our stuff,” Mcleod said.

The Cats worked the ball into McNeill, who finished with a team-high 17 points. Spears along with White and junior Kaylea Kingma all provided hustle for the Cats in their comeback effort. Spears finished with 14, Kingma had eight and White had five.

With the loss Oak Harbor received second in the Northwest 4A District for the second year in a row. They will face Enumclaw in the first round of the state tournament at 7 p.m. tonight at the Tacoma Dome. The Hornets have been ranked in the top five consistently in state polls throughout the year.

If Oak Harbor wins they will face the winner of Redmond and Puyallup at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night. In the event of a loss, they will play the loser of Redmond and Puyallup at 2 p.m.

To keep updated on up to the minute 4A state tournament results log on to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association website at

Oak Harbor— 6 16 10 12—44

Lake Stevens—14 14 12 6—46

Scoring—OH: McNeill 17, Spears 14, Kingma 8, White 5.

LS: Carbonatto 18, Todd 13, Holloway 12, Estes 3.

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