Wildcats grind out big wins

With a second place position in the WesCo North on the line, the Oak Harbor girls basketball team prevailed, 54-49, in a road victory over Lake Stevens Monday night.

Up by 11 twice in the second half, the Wildcats let the Vikings hang around before pulling away in the final minutes.

Junior Amanda Watts led Oak Harbor with a team-high 18 points, while junior Heidi McNeill scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Six-foot-four center Katie Holloway had game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Vikings.

The Wildcats moved to 5-1 in league and 8-2 overall and pulled into a second place tie with Monroe. They play at 7:30 p.m., tonight, Jan. 14 at home against Mount Vernon and travel to Monroe, Friday, Jan. 16.

Oak Harbor 12 8 18 16—54

Lake Stevens 9 7 16 17—49

Scoring—OH: Watts 18, McNeill 14, Hill 9, White 6 Merritt 4, Bratt 3.

LS: Holloway 28, Estes 8, Fisher 5, West 4, Housden 2, Mace 2.

Oak Harbor 50, Cascade 49

In desperation of some kind of energy, some sort of spark, senior Sarah Bratt provided the Oak Harbor girls just what they needed in a 50-49 home victory Friday night.

With four minutes to go in the game, the Bruins pulled to within one, 41-40 on a free throw by Kristi Auckland. The shot moved Cascade as close as they had been since taking the lead early in the first quarter, causing some uneasy feelings on the Oak Harbor bench.

“We thought we had a chance in the third quarter to put them away, but we let them hang around,” Wildcat coach Brett McLeod said.

Cascade appeared to be out-hustling the Cats on every loose ball and gaining serious momentum as the fourth quarter went on.

That’s when Bratt found an answer for Oak Harbor.

Scoring only two points up to the 3:00 mark of the fourth quarter, while going 0-for-2 from the free throw line, Bratt came through when it counted most. She rattled off seven consecutive points for the Cats in the final three minutes, highlighted by a steal at the Oak Harbor end of the court. With OHHS up by one, 45-44, Bratt snagged the ball, dribbled the distance of the court and went up strong for a layup and the foul. Her free throw gave Oak Harbor a four point lead, 48-44, with 34 seconds to go.

“She had some huge plays down the stretch,” McLeod said.

As for Bratt’s determination in the final minutes—“I just really wanted to beat them because I played with some of the girls in my summer league,” she said. “I just totally wanted this game because I knew it was big for the standings.”

Bratt ended the game with nine points and five rebounds, all of which came on the offensive side of the ball.

Junior Amanda Watts also came up big, hitting a pair of key free throws with 17 seconds left in the game. Her shots gave Oak Harbor another four point advantage and essentially sealed the win.

Cascade’s Jenny Muscatell nailed a three point shot with three ticks left on the clock, but it was too little to late for the Bruins, who were forced to foul and had no timeouts remaining.

Senior Jenny White was the high scorer for Oak Harbor with 15. Junior center Heidi McNeill, scored 12 points before halftime, but was held scoreless in the second half.

Cascade 9 15 11 14—49

Oak Harbor 16 14 9 11—50

Scoring—OH: White 15, McNeill 12, Bratt 9, Watts 8, Merritt 4, Hill 2.

C: Muscatell 17, Auckland 7, Elliot 7, Bergsham 6, Hooks 6, Simek 6.

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