Wildcats seek return to district

Oak Harbor senior Cheyenne Tubo drives hard to the basket and gets off  a scoop shot good for two points during an early-season practice session.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor senior Cheyenne Tubo drives hard to the basket and gets off a scoop shot good for two points during an early-season practice session.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

Graduation, injuries and players moving out of the district have depleted the ranks of the Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team.

However, head coach Brett McLeod is upbeat about the Wildcats’ prospects of returning the district tournament in his seventh season at the helm.

Last year, Oak Harbor finished with a 16-8 overall record and advanced to the district playoffs, coming within one game of reaching the Class 4A state championship tournament.

McLeod said the team had a great summer season and he expects to be able to build on that success.

“We were 16-1 during the summer and we didn’t have all our players competing at the time,” he said. “The summer went really well and that was nice.”

Oak Harbor has four players returning to the lineup that saw significant varsity playing time last year.

These players include seniors Cheyenne Tubo, Cori Henricksen and Jennifer Jansen, along with junior Jessica Denmon.

After that, McLeod said he is going to have to rely on players moving up from the junior varsity to step in and fill roles on the floor.

Two players who are expected to have a major impact on the team’s success this season are senior Kathryn Fisken and junior Nikki Mowbray.

“Those two along with the others will have to step up and be key ingredients for what we’re doing this year,” McLeod said.

Other players who McLeod said he expected to have on the varsity roster this year are sophomores Clarissa Abadesco and Tiffany Earnhart, along with senior foreign exchange student Justine Bortolameotti.

McLeod said he thought the WesCo North is not going to as tough a league as it was last year with the exception of Snohomish, and that gives the Wildcats an opportunity to get into the playoffs.

“I think this is maybe the most competitive the league has been in my seven years of coaching,” he said.

The Wildcats play their first game Dec. 3 at Mountlake Terrace, and return home to meet Bellingham on Saturday, Dec. 6. Varsity tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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