Wildcats denied upset

Second, third and sometimes fourth chance opportunities scorched the Oak Harbor girls basketball team in a 54-47 home loss to Snohomish Wednesday night.

Despite out-rebounding the first-place Panthers 40-35, the Wildcats surrendered 20 offensive rebounds, several of which came at crucial moments in the fourth quarter.

“That killed us,” Oak Harbor head coach Brett McLeod said. “You have to be really disciplined against a team that shoots long shots because you get a lot of long rebounds and I think we did a lot of watching the ball and not keeping contact with our player.”

With 2:50 left in the game and a 44-43 Panther lead, Snohomish made Oak Harbor pay for not being able to rebound. After missing three times and grabbing their own rebound on all three misses, junior guard Kristin Moore came through clutch for Snohomish. Moore calmly nailed a three-point shot just as the 35-second shot clock expired, giving the Panthers a 47-43 lead they didn’t relinquish.

“You’ve got to tip you’re hat to them for some of the big shots they hit down the stretch,” McLeod said.

Two free throws by senior Sarah Bratt pulled Oak Harbor to within two, 49-47, with 1:06 to go, but the Cats could get no closer.

On the ensuing possession Snohomish forward Emily Cassidy turned another missed shot into an easy rebound and put back with 45 seconds on the clock that sealed the game.

Oak Harbor was able to find success against Snohomish early.

After falling behind 18-9 with 7:25 to go in the first half, OHHS went on a scoring rampage. Behind 13 second-quarter points from junior Heidi McNeill, the Cats outscored Snohomish 16-3 to close out the half, taking a 25-21 lead into the locker room. McNeill ended the contest with a game-high 22 points.

“I thought we did a real good job finding her in the first half,” McLeod said. “There were probably a few key possessions down the stretch where we could have found her a little better.”

Oak Harbor took their largest lead of the game, 27-21, to start the third quarter when senior Jenny White received one of her six steals that led to an easy transition lay up.

“She had a great game,” McLeod said. “That’s kind of her role on the team—be that big defensive player and get some big steals and lay ups off those steals.”

Although Oak Harbor lost for its second time to Snohomish, while falling to 6-4 in league and 9-5 overall, McLeod is happy with the effort he saw from his team.

“I’m happy with what we did compared to the first time we played them,” he said, referring to a 59-36 blowout at Snohomish. “We can’t really hang our heads because the effort was there.”

Oak Harbor faced Arlington last night and travels to Marysville-Pilchuck on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Prior to Friday night’s games, both Marysville and Oak Harbor were tied for the third place spot in the WesCo North.

“I don’t know if we will be able to battle for a top two spot, but if we can get third we’ll feel good about it,” McLeod said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Snohomish 54, Oak Harbor 47

Snohomish 15 6 15 18—54

Oak Harbor 9 16 10 12—47

Scoring—OH: McNeill 22, Watts 7, White 6, Bratt 4, Hill 4, Smollack 4.

S: Moore 17, Henderson 12, Best 9, Cassidy 6, Wilde 4, Benson 3, Manning 3.

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