Cats can't weather storm

A combination of turnovers and a lack of an ability to get the free throw line hurt the Oak Harbor boys in a 56-47 non-league loss to Squalicum Friday night.

Despite outscoring the Storm, 46-43, from the field, the Wildcats turned the ball over 20 times and only managed 1-for-3 free throw shooting for the night.

“We settled for jump shots...,” head coach Bryan Schulle said. Patience, fake a pass, make a pass, those are things that beat zones—we didn't do it.”

Squalicum, on the other hand, turned the ball over 10 times and shot a frigid, but effective, 13-for-24 from the free throw line, making the ultimate difference in the game.

“The turnovers are the biggest concern of mine,” Schulle said.

On their first two possessions of the night the Wildcats made ill-advised passes out of bounds on consecutive plays. The trend continued through the remainder of the half, as they committed 12 miscues by halftime. The Storm jumped on Oak Harbor’s mistakes, taking a 26-21 lead to the locker room.

The most frustrating part of trailing at halftime for Schulle was the ratio of shots taken between the two teams.

“I told my kids at halftime we’ve taken 29 shots, they’ve missed 26 shots, yet they’re winning,” he said.

The Wildcats came out more energized in the second half, but were never able to regain a lead. Senior John Lobbestael pulled Oak Harbor as close as they would get, 26-25, on a mid-range jump shot with 6:15 to go in the third quarter. Oak Harbor hung around until Storm freshman Chad Clark hit two three pointers in the final minute of the third quarter, including one with five seconds left on the clock. Clark’s clutch shot gave Squalicum a 43-34 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Oak Harbor chipped away, but Squalicum matched them bucket for bucket. Wildcat senior Jeremy Brown finished with a game-high 27 points, including two three pointers. Lobbestael added eight points for the Cats.

Storm junior Aaron Dickson, son of former Oak Harbor varsity coach and current Squalicum freshman coach, Dave Dickson, led his team in scoring with 17 points.

“Squalicum’s pretty good,” Schulle said. “They’ve played everyone tough.”

At 2-6 overall Schulle doesn’t feel it’s time to panic.

“We are two games ahead of where we were at this time last year, he said referring to an 0-7 start. “We’ll be fine.”

After last year’s early season struggles, Oak Harbor managed to battle back to a 8-12 record, coming up one win shy of making the district tournament.

“I still think we can turn it around,” Schulle said.

Depending on the winter conditions, the Wildcats were scheduled to play Lake Stevens last night. Their next league game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday Jan. 9 at Cascade. They don’t play at home again until Friday, Jan. 16 against Monroe.

Squalicum 56, Oak Harbor 47

Squalicum 12 14 17 13—56

Oak Harbor 10 11 13 13—47

Scoring—OH: Brown 27, Lobbestael 8, Ferguson 6, Heidt 4, Raimundi 2.

S: Dickson 17, Jones 13, Ellington 10, Moreau 7, Clark 7, Wilcox 2.

Records: Oak Harbor 1-4 league, 2-6 overall. Squalicum not reported.

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