Winter prep preview | Oak Harbor boys basketball

The big question heading into the 2013-14 boys basketball season for Oak Harbor High School is whether the Wildcats can continue the success of last winter.

Oak Harbor qualified for its third consecutive district tournament and posted its best record (7-6, good for second in the Wesco 3A North, 13-11 overall) in years.

The Wildcats also came within one game of qualifying for the state tournament, winning twice at district and finishing fourth.

To continue the momentum, Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington will look to four lettermen: Drew Washington, a 6-3 senior guard; Gabe Groenig, a 6-2 senior wing; Dyllan Harris, a 6-1 sophomore guard; and Zach Jones, a 6-0 junior guard.

Washington and Groenig were full-time starters last year.

The Wildcats received a lift when Zach Gibbs, a 6-1 senior wing, transferred back to Oak Harbor. Gibbs, however, may not be eligible for the first few games, coach Washington said.

Washington called Gibbs, who lettered for Oak Harbor as a sophomore, “very athletic and a great defender.”

Another newcomer who should contribute is 5-8 sophomore guard Elijah Smith, who “has some skills and is a solid defender,” according to Washington.

The key to the Wildcat attack is Drew Washington, the coach’s son and a second-team, all-Wesco selection, who recently committed to play for the Air Force Academy in the future.

Drew Washington averaged 13.6 points per game in 2012-13. A long-range threat, Washington sank 57 three-pointers and finished second on the team with 20 assists.

Groenig averaged 4.5 points per game and pulled down 99 rebounds.

Harris, who saw his minutes increase as the his freshman season progressed, averaged 5.45 points per game. Coach Washington said Harris will take over the point guard spot.

Coach Washington said, with three starters graduating, this season will be “somewhat of a rebuilding year.”

“We will play small but plan to try and get up and down a little bit more than we typically do,” he said.

“Our motto this year is ‘Unity in Adversity,’” Washington said. “We have to remember that during times of struggles we must stay unified.”

Brett McLeod, who had a successful run as the Oak Harbor girls varsity coach, returns to basketball after several years off as Washington’s assistant.

“I am extremely happy and lucky to have him come aboard,” Washington said.

Oak Harbor begins the year with three home nonleague games. First up is Anacortes at 7:15 Tuesday, Dec. 3, followed by Ballard at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4.

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