Wildcats win second game

Leads haven’t exactly come at a premium for the Oak Harbor boys basketball team this season.

In 15 contests the Wildcats were up just twice at halftime and both of those resulted in losses.

So when the Wildcats carried a 12-point advantage into the locker room Friday night, they weren’t exactly in a familiar position.

“This was a new thing for us,” OHHS junior Dallas Heidt said. “We wanted to come out and play the same, we didn’t want to stop taking shots.”

An aggressive Oak Harbor squad did exactly that in the second half as it kept its intensity and focus for a 65-47 victory over Lake Stevens.

“The players earned that one tonight,” OHHS head coach Bryan Schulle said. “They deserve all the credit.”

Up 34-22 coming out of the locker room, Oak Harbor faltered in the opening minute of the third quarter. The Vikings scored two uncontested buckets on their first possessions, pulling within eight.

Oak Harbor quickly put a stop to that.

Junior James Leach countered the Vikings’ early charge with a three-pointer at the 6:58 mark of the third. The shot started a 15-4 run to close the quarter.

Although he was pleased with offensive and defensive execution Schulle was most impressed by his team’s ability to overcome adversity in the quarter. The Wildcats put several questionable calls, including a sequence of three blocking fouls in six seconds, behind them.

“We had some frustration with the officials and the kids played right through that,” Schulle said.

Also key for the Wildcats was their performance from the free throw line. The Wildcats hit 23-of-27 free throws for the game and were 10-for-11 in the final three minutes.

“The kids have really taken it upon themselves over the last couple of days to improve their work ethic shooting free throws,” Schulle said.

Oak Harbor jumped out to its first half lead by using a full-court man-to-man press and forcing the Vikings into 10 turnovers. Applying a full-court press so early was a different strategy for the Wildcats.

“They seem to like that kind of basketball,” Schulle said of his team. “They feed off that energy.”

Heidt finished as game-high scorer with 20 points. The junior was 8-for-8 from the free throw line with two three pointers, including one that beat the halftime buzzer.

“Dallas has continued to improve throughout the year, his confidence level has really gone up,” Schulle said.

Senior guard Chris Hughes also had a strong performance with 17 points, followed by junior Will Hunter and Leach with 10 apiece.

Oak Harbor improved to 2-10 in the Western Conference North and 2-14 overall with the win. Prior to last night’s home game with Arlington, the Wildcats were a half game from getting out of the WesCo North cellar, narrowly behind Lake Stevens (3-10).

OHHS next plays at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10 at Stanwood.

Lake Stevens 11 11 8 17 — 47

Oak Harbor 12 22 15 16 — 65

Scoring: Oak Harbor - Heidt 20, Hughes 17, Hunter 10, Leach 10, Schulle 4, Lobbestael 2, Rumble 2. Lake Stevens - Steinruck 11, Carter 9, Denney 7, McMurray 6, Gilbertson 4, Lian 4, Aker 2, Pearson 2, Stoen 2.

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