Wildcats end tough stretch 0-3

Talk about a test.

In a one-week span the Oak Harbor girls basketball team faced three potential 4A state teams in league rivals Snohomish, Monroe and Lake Stevens.

Suffering 30-point road losses in their first two games, the Wildcats rapped up the tough haul with a 58-39 home loss to Lake Stevens on Wednesday night.

“We just went through murderer’s row,” OHHS head coach Brett McLeod said.

Although Oak Harbor dropped its third straight game on Wednesday, the contest remained significantly closer than its previous two.

Through most of the first quarter the Wildcats stayed right with the league’s second-ranked Vikings. Key to Oak Harbor’s early success came from its full-court press.

“Their point guard (Kristina Schumacher) went down and then we tried to press them a little bit...,” McLeod said.

Lake Stevens committed six turnovers in the first quarter, allowing the Wildcats to hang around, 18-9 after one.

Oak Harbor started the second quarter with a 5-0 run via a strong post move from sophomore Claire Thiel and a three-pointer from sophomore Mietra Smollack. The Vikings, however, were quick to end the Wildcat momentum.

“They started executing and we started putting them at the free throw line,” McLeod said.

Lake Stevens hit 10-for-14 free throws in the first half, helping them to a 35-18 halftime lead.

Not only was it the experience of Lake Stevens that helped them pull away, but McLeod felt the inexperience from his team also contributed.

“It’s like right now we’ve got two or three players playing their heart out every possession, but a couple of players that are still trying to figure things out,” he said.

One of those athletes playing their heart out was Krystal Rousselle, who put in a game-high 17 points. The senior was also 9-for-13 from the free throw line and brought OHHS to within its closest second-half margin of 46-32 on a three pointer with 5:34 left in the game.

“We spotlighted her as a player that we thought we got something from 100 percent of the time,” McLeod said. “Every possession she was working her tail off.”

Led by 5-foot-11 post Courtney Fisher, who had a team-high 16 points, Lake Stevens continued to pull away down the stretch.

“They’re good even with their point guard out,” McLeod said. “They were picked second in league and I think rightfully so.”

Oak Harbor is now 1-3 in league and 1-6 overall. They play two non-league games next week, on the road Wednesday, Dec. 27 against Sehome and at home Thursday Dec. 28 against Ferndale in a make-up game. Start times for both games are 7:30 p.m.

“We’re about to go on a stretch that will show whether we’re getting better or not,” McLeod said. “We’ve just got to step up and execute.”

Lake Stevens 18 17 9 8 — 58

Oak Harbor 9 9 8 13 — 39

Scoring: Oak Harbor-Rousselle 17, Smollack 9, Brundidge 5, Russell 4, Thiel 4. Lake Stevens-Fisher 16, Housden 12, Kruse 8, Aanstad 7, Ochiltree 6, K. Boehme 4, Tri 3, Johnson 2.

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