Cats win over Lake Stevens

The bleeding has stopped for the Oak Harbor girls basketball team: at least for now.

The Wildcats, losers of four of their last six games, picked up a much-needed, 51-42, home victory over Lake Stevens on Friday.

“It was one of those where winning solves all ills and problems,” Oak Harbor head coach Brett McLeod said.

Facing the pressure of falling into fourth place and a realistic possibility of not making the district playoffs, Oak Harbor came through with a clutch fourth quarter performance.

Up 32-27 going into the period, the Cats impressively hit 11-for-14 free throws to fend off the Vikings. Junior Amanda Watts was a major factor to the success, going 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth.

“She’s not bashful about it, she’s just got confidence and steps up there and makes it happen,” McLeod said.

Watts, who ended the night with 12 points, wouldn’t rather be in any other place when the game’s on the line.

“I’m used to the pressure, I love the pressure,” she said.

Lake Stevens pulled within three points on two separate occasions early in the fourth quarter, but the Oak Harbor defense kept them off balance. The Cats forced the Vikings into six turnovers late in the game, most of which were converted into easy baskets.

“The energy picked up and then all the sudden good things started to happen,” McLeod said. “We talked trust, team and together today and that’s what we did.”

Things didn’t start out so smoothly for OHHS.

The Wildcats found themselves trailing 8-5 after the first quarter, behind a frigid 2-for-11 shooting effort.

Luckily for the Cats, Lake Stevens also struggled from the field, hitting only 6-of-26 shots in the first half.

“When you’re cold, it’s nice to see the other team cold too,” McLeod said.

Oak Harbor picked up their scoring slightly in the second quarter to go ahead 24-18 at halftime. Junior Heidi McNeill, who had a game high 22-points, scored nine in the second quarter.

Lake Stevens pulled to within one point, 28-27, in the third quarter, but they never were able to retake the lead.

The win couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for the Cats (8-5, 11-6), who were up only a half game on Lake Stevens (6-6, 10-6) going into the contest.

“This is a big step for us, seeing how our last game went,” Watts said. “From here it’s all looking up and I can’t wait to try and finish the season the right way.”

Marysville-Pilchuck, who defeated the Wildcats in their previous game, also won on Friday, leaving the teams in a deadlock for third place in the WesCo North.

Oak Harbor faces Cascade at 7:30 p.m., tonight, Feb. 11 on the road. They travel to Mount Vernon on Friday, Feb. 13 before playing their final home and regular season game at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 17 against Monroe.

Lake Stevens 8 10 9 15—42

Oak Harbor 5 19 8 19—51

Scoring—OH: McNeill 21, Watts 12, White 10, Bratt 4, Hill 4.

LS: Holloway 12, West 12, Fisher 8, Estes 5, Housden 3, Kelly 2.

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