Wildcats take first step

 Oak Harbor’s Jessica Denmon splits Stanwood defenders Renee Lucero, 24, and Brenda Bingham to score two of her game-high 26 points.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor’s Jessica Denmon splits Stanwood defenders Renee Lucero, 24, and Brenda Bingham to score two of her game-high 26 points.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor basketball coach Brett McLeod said every league game from now on will be a playoff game for the Wildcats.

At Friday’s senior night game, Oak Harbor took the first step, putting together four strong quarters of basketball en route to a 63-39 drubbing of the Stanwood Spartans.

The win boosts Oak Harbor’s record to 9-5 in league games and 12-6 overall, and puts the Wildcats in fourth place in the WesCo North.

With Monroe and Marysville-Pilchuck remaining on the schedule, two more wins will earn Oak Harbor a third place finish in the league.

The Wildcats got off to a relatively slow start, but began building momentum as the game progressed.

“It’s always good to send the seniors off with a win on senior night,” coach Brett McLeod said.

Oak Harbor held a 13-7 lead after the first eight minutes thanks to seven points from Jessica Denmon. In the second period Denmon tossed in seven more and Cori Henricksen added six, as the Wildcats upped the margin to 10 points, 31-21, at halftime.

Denmon finished with a game-high 26 points, including three from 3-point range.

Senior night was the final time five Wildcat players would wear an Oak Harbor uniform on the home court, and the game was an emotional experience for all of them.

“I was pretty sad at first but then once the game got started, I didn’t think about it,” senior Cheyenne Tubo said. “It was pretty exciting and a good way to end winning a home game.”

Senior foreign exchange student Justine Bortolametti said there is no such thing as senior night at home in Belgium.

“We play all of our games after school,” she said. “Playing basketball this season at Oak Harbor was the greatest year of my life and I have only good memories. The girls played very, very well, so I’m very happy.”

Oak Harbor blew the game wide open in the third period when Jennifer Jansen got hot from the floor.

The senior post scored eight of the Wildcats’ 15 points in the period while the Oak Harbor defense held the Spartans to a mere three baskets, and Oak Harbor cruised into the final quarter with a commanding 46-27 lead.

Jansen finished the game with 12 points, all of which came in the second half.

“I thought in the second half we attacked on offense a lot smarter than we did in the first half,” McLeod said. “When we play hard and play smart, I think we are one of the best teams in the league.”

Kallen Shaughnessy with 10 points was the only player to score in double figures for Stanwood.

“Sometimes on senior night you’re a little worried as a coach about all the distractions, all the excitement and all the things that don’t have anything to do with the game,” McLeod said. “Come game time, you just hope they come out focused and ready to go. We were able to do that tonight.”

Oak Harbor 63, Stanwood 39

Stanwood 7 14 6 12 — 39

Oak Harbor 13 18 15 17 — 63

Stanwood (39) — Kallen Shaughnessy 3 5-6 10, Jordan Nemo 1 1-2 4, Renee Lucero 2 0-0 4, Tessa Voelckers 1 0-0 2, Paisley Heckman 3 1-5 7, Dalin Chapman 0 0-0 0, Brenda Bingham 2 2-4 6, Morgan Wietzke 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 9-17 39.

Oak Harbor — Jessica Denmon 10 3-4 26, Jennifer Jansen 6 0-1 12, Cheyenne Tubo 2 0-0 4, Cori Henricksen 3 0-0 6, Kathryn Fisken 1 2-4 4, Jessica James 1 0-0 2, Justine Bortolametti 0 0-0 0, Mariah Ferguson 0 0-0 0, Clarissa Abadesco 1 2-2 4, Nicole Mowbray 1 3-4 5. Totals 25 10-15 63.

Three-point goals — Stanwood 2 (Nemo, Shaughnessy). Oak Harbor 3 (Denmon 3). Turnovers­ — ­ Stanwood 13, Oak Harbor 7. Total fouls — Stanwood 12, Oak Harbor 17. Fouled out — Bingham, Mowbray.

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