Sports

Young team asked to grow up fast

With just one starter returning from last year, several unanswered questions exist for the Oak Harbor boys basketball team in 2004-05.

“The challenge we face is we’re young and we tend to be inexperienced,” head coach Bryan Schulle said.

The lone starter coming back is 6-foot senior forward/guard Marc Ferguson, who averaged 13 points and four rebounds last year. Ferguson showed he had ability to hit shots from beyond the three-point arc and also earned a reputation as a high-flyer, throwing down several acrobatic slam dunks.

“Marc is athletic and has the potential to be very dangerous for us this year,” Schulle said.

Six-foot-three sophomore Dallas Heidt is the only other player that saw enough varsity time to letter last year. Heidt, who was called up to varsity midway through last season, showed a soft shooting touch from the outside, averaging three points a game in limited minutes during 10 varsity contests.

Junior Chris Hughes will likely run the point guard position. Hughes played minimal time on varsity last season and will need to adjust quickly this season.

“He’s going to have to be ready to play at the varsity level both mentally and physically,” Schulle said.

Two other key components moving up from junior varsity are senior Bryce Waller and sophomore Will Hunter. Both players are 6-foot-4 and were lineman on the OHHS football team — something which should help against the larger teams around the WesCo North.

“They’re big bodies, they’ll bang you and they’re real physical,” Schulle said.

Along with those moving up from junior varsity, Oak Harbor also has two transfers expected to come in and make an immediate impact in junior guard Will Lopez and senior forward Raheem Maxwell.

Although they are young, Schulle likes the enthusiasm the Wildcats displayed during the summer and first couple of days of practice.

“They’re young enough to believe they can succeed against anyone,” he said.

That’s a good omen for the Wildcats because winning in the WesCo North won’t be an easy task.

Both Mount Vernon and Snohomish return solid cores and are expected to vie for the top spot in league.

“A lot of the kids that were all-league last year were underclassmen,” Schulle said.

Those top players include University of Washington bound Jon Brockman of Snohomish, Stanwood’s Daes Kaufman and Mount Vernon’s Shane Gibbons.

There are four district playoff spots available this season. Last year Oak Harbor just missed making the district tournament, losing a pigtail game to Marysville.

“The goal this year is to be competitive and for the kids to maintain a positive attitude,” Schulle said. “I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Oak Harbor tips off the season at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30 at non-league Anacortes.

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