Wildcat boys win big in basketball opener

The beginning of the game looked like the same old thing. The finish far from it.

Oak Harbor High School's boys' basketball team, which has struggled to win games the last few years, chased away some of the demons of the past by drilling host Sedro-Woolley 71-47 Tuesday.

The Cubs jumped to an early five-point lead and visions of years past resurfaced. Those visions soon vaporized as the Wildcats took a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Sedro-Woolley appeared to gain some momentum by hitting a 50-foot desperation shot at the end of the quarter, but the Wildcats took control.

Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington corrected some mistakes the 'Cats were making in their press and the results were impressive.

The Wildcats pushed their lead to 11 at the half, then thier 2-2-1 press caused a cascade of scoring chances in the third quarter as Oak Harbor outscored the Cubs 20-8 in the period.

Washington said going into the season that the two keys to success this year were defensive effort and team chemistry. The Wildcats were right on the mark against Sedro-Woolley.

Washington said "our defensive intensity" turned the game around and "we played team basketball." He was particularly pleased with the club's 20 assists.

The Wildcat coach also said last week that he had three of the best guards in the Western Conference North. The Cubs got a taste of the trio.

Mike Washington Jr. scored 21 points and had five assists, Denzel Harden had 17 points and three assists, and Jay Stout had 10 points and four assists. Throw in fourth guard Ryan Fakkema, a high-energy defender who finished with 5 points and five rebounds, and Oak Harbor's backcourt was dominant.

Oak Harbor got a strong all-around game from Stevie Bratt, who finished with 10 rebounds, 6 points and four assists.

Rashaad Smith chipped in with 4 points and five rebounds, Colby Anter had 6 points and three boards, and Trace Paul picked up two points and three rebounds.

Coach Washington said, "I told them to enjoy the win tonight, but tomorrow we have to prepare for Glacier Peak."

The Wildcats host the Grizzlies Friday at 7:30.

Oak Harbor will see two extremes in its first two games. Sedro-Woolley is expected to finish near the bottom of the Northwest Conference. Glacier Peak returns its entire team from a successful 2008-2009 season and is ranked seventh in the state in the preseason 3A poll.

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