Wildcats close, just can’t get over hump

It hasn’t come yet, but Oak Harbor boys basketball coach Bryan Schulle is confident his team’s second win in two seasons, or the last 31 games, is right around the corner.

“We’re going to get there, I assure you,” he said.

And the reasoning comes easy for Schulle.

The Wildcats, who have lost five straight after beating Monroe and ending a 26-game losing streak on Dec. 16, had legitimate shots of winning in four of their five recent defeats.

“We’ve been in these games we just can’t get over the hump,” Schulle said.

The recent streak of hard luck wasn’t any more evident than Tuesday’s 65-59 loss at home to Stanwood.

Down by as many as nine, 51-42, with 2:35 left, Oak Harbor never threw in the towel.

The Wildcats continued to battle back, pulling to within 55-52 with 58 seconds to go. Sophomore Rodrick Rumble, who scored a team-high 19 points, was key to the comeback. Down 55-49, Rumble hit the first of his one-and-one free throws. He then flew in into the key after he missed the second free throw and scored on the rebound to pull OHHS within three.

On the ensuing inbound, Stanwood pushed the ball up the court and missed a layin. OHHS couldn’t secure the rebound, however, as the Spartans’ Derek Anderson snatched the ball and scored on the rebound.

“The kids sprinted down and made a play, we just couldn’t get it,” Schulle said.

A steal and another easy bucket secured the win for Stanwood.

Schulle, however, praised his team’s effort.

“They did everything we asked,” he said. “We just had a breakdown in transition created by subbing. We just didn’t do a good job communicating who we had in there.”

Oak Harbor trailed after each quarter on Tuesday, but did have the lead on two occasions. Junior James Leach gave OHHS a 22-19 lead on back-to-back buckets in the second quarter and sophomore Bryce Schulle provided the Wildcats a 29-27 lead after hitting a three pointer with 3:45 left in the third.

Junior Marshall Lobbestael put in a season-high 10 points for OHHS, nailing two three pointers.

Aaron Boehme led Stanwood with a game-high 21 points.

Stanwood 12 13 15 25 — 65

Oak Harbor 7 15 14 23 — 59

Scoring: Oak Harbor -Rumble 19, Lobbestael 10, Leach 8, Hughes 7, Hunter 6, Schulle 5, Heidt 4. Stanwood-Boehme 21, Anderson 12, Monroe 9, Gambill 6, Schmidt 6, Lawrence 4, Lipinski 4, McClurken 3.

MVHS 71, OHHS 52

For the first time in nearly a month Oak Harbor struggled for an entire contest, losing 71-52 at Mount Vernon.

The Wildcats were without the presence of two posts, Will Hunter and Caleb Koorn, from the second quarter on, due to injury and illness. The Bulldogs took advantage of Oak Harbor’s lack of size as they racked up 22 points in the second quarter for a 34-21 halftime lead.

“Mount Vernon is an athletic team that can beat you by going to the basket or driving and kicking out to one of their deadly shooters,” Schulle said. “They were able to do just that against the first half.”

Jeremy Juarez put in a game-high 29 points for Mount Vernon en route to its win.

Leach led OHHS with 14 points, while Rumble scored 11.

Oak Harbor fell to 1-6 in league and 1-10 overall.

As for Schulle, he’s not getting frustrated with his team.

“I love coaching these kids,” he said. “What is it, like 30 out of 31 (losses)?

I think most teams would be throwing in the towel, but these kids don’t do that.”

The Wildcats play their next game at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17 at second-place Marysville-Pilchuck (5-2, 9-2).

Oak Harbor 6 15 18 13 — 52

Mount Vernon 12 22 15 22 — 71

Scoring: Oak Harbor-Leach 14, Rumble 11, Lopez 9, Heidt 8, Hughes 7, Koorn 2, Hunt 1. Mount Vernon-Juarez 29, Knight 12, Gibbons 11, Caswell 7, Jordan 6, Brown 4, Jensen 2.

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