Slow start doesn't help Cats

Home hasn’t been very sweet for the Oak Harbor boys basketball team this season.

An 81-73 loss to Monroe on Friday night, moved the Wildcats’ home record to 0-6, dropping them to 3-9 overall.

“It’s crazy,” head coach Bryan Schulle said. “We’ve gone through four of our league games at home and not gotten a win...I don’t know why that is.”

Although the reason for Oak Harbor’s struggles have varied, the troubles against Monroe stemmed early on from the inability to stop the Bearcat guards, who erupted for 20 first-quarter points. When they weren’t slashing their way through the defense to the hoop, they were knocking down three point attempts from the outside, helping to build a 25 -13 advantage after one.

“They’re quick, they’ve got a nice mix of size and speed,” Schulle said of Monroe’s guards.

The Bearcats continued to pour it on in the second quarter, going up by as many as 16. Ten of 13 possible players on the Monroe roster had scored by halftime.

Despite stepping to the free-throw line 20 times in the second quarter, Oak Harbor carried a 47-32 deficit to the locker room.

Monroe kept a double-digit lead through most of the second half, until the Wildcats received a spark midway through the fourth quarter from junior forward Marc Ferguson. With 4:40 to go in the game, senior guard Jeremy Brown looped a perfect back-door alley-oop pass to Ferguson, who leapt over the defense to dunk the ball with two hands. Down 72-60 at that point, the Cats seemed to be revived with new energy.

Unfortunately for Oak Harbor the turnover bug that has effected them all season, reared its ugly head again. Down 74-66 with 2:49 left, Brown drew a charge that gave Oak Harbor the ball. With the possibility of cutting the lead to six, an errant Wildcat pass led to a Monroe fast break and a three-point play that sealed the game.

“We execute it (the alley-oop) perfectly, we could feel the momentum, the gym got a little energy and then we shot ourselves in the foot,” Schulle said. “We keep doing that, we always will get runs and then shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Brown ended the game-high scorer with 25 points. Senior Nate Metacalf had a solid second half, scoring 12 of his 16 points.

Tyler Marley led the Bearcats with 19 points.

At 2-6 in the WesCo North, Schulle feels there’s still a legitimate chance for his team to get things turned around.

“I truly believe in these guys...I don’t see any reason why we can’t go 6-2 or 5-3 and get into those playoffs,” he said. “We’ve lost some we should have won and maybe this second go-around we will get those ones.”

The Wildcats played at Stanwood last night and travel to Snohomish this Friday, Jan. 23.

Monroe 25 22 18 16—81

Oak Harbor 13 19 17 24—73

Scoring—OH: Brown 25, Metcalf 16, Lobbestael 13, Saar 9, Ferguson 7, Raimundi 2, Mitchell 1.

Monroe: Marley 19, Hammerquist 16, Lucke 12, Manthe 8, Brown 7, Hoekstra 7, Erickson 4, Slager 3, Waltman 3, Taylor 2.

Records: Oak Harbor 2-6 league, 3-9 overall; Monroe 3-4 league, 5-5 overall.

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