Wildcats fend off Ferndale

The start was ugly, but Oak Harbor girls basketball coach Brett McLeod was all smiles when Friday night’s game against 3A Ferndale was over.

The Wildcats overcame 1-for-10 first-quarter shooting and eight turnovers to battle back and beat the Golden Eagles 43-40 and end a four-game losing streak in the process.

“These girls have great attitudes and they care about each other so it feels good after going through murder’s row to get this,” McLeod said.

Trailing 13-4 early in the second quarter, Oak Harbor received a much-needed spark from seniors Jerrica Jenkins and Jessica Brundidge.

The duo combined for eight second-quarter points to inch OHHS within 22-18 by halftime. More important than their points, however, was the energy the two players provided.

Jenkins was a monster on the boards, giving the Wildcats numerous second-chance opportunities. She had seven offensive rebounds for the game and 11 total boards.

“I’m a rebounder,” she said. “I love to rebound…I love to be aggressive-that’s what it is.”

Brundidge, who stands at just 5-feet tall, provided Oak Harbor with key transition buckets. She scored one off a steal and took a rebound the distance of the court right through the Ferndale defense for two more points.

“Those senior kids playing with that sort of fire and that sort of enthusiasm show the other kids how you play,” McLeod said.

Oak Harbor’s second-quarter momentum continued through the third when it took its first lead of the game, 28-26, on a jump shot from senior Krystal Rousselle. The Wildcats never trailed from that point on.

Jenkins, who had a season-high nine points, gave OHHS its biggest lead of the game at the 4:53 mark of the fourth nailing two free throws for a 38-31 lead.

The Golden Eagles inched back to within one, 41-40, with eight seconds left, but sophomore Mietra Smollack calmly knocked down two free throws for a three-point lead. Ferndale’s Stephanie Gair was off the mark on a last-second three point shot, sealing the deal for OHHS.

“We’re very excited about the win,” Jenkins said. “We’ve been pushing for it very hard.”

Smollack ended the game-high scorer with 13 points.

Oak Harbor is now 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the Western Conference North. They return to league play at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6 at home against Arlington (4-3).

Ferndale 11 11 7 11 — 40

Oak Harbor 4 14 14 11 — 43

Scoring: Oak Harbor-Smollack 13, Jenkins 9, Russell 7, Rousselle 6, Brundidge 4, Thiel 4. Ferndale-Finkbonner 8, Dahl 7, Hannah 6, Gair 4, Mattila 4, Newman 4, Cicchitti 3, Honeycutt 2, Christinson 1, Lindsay 1.

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