Oak Harbor girls upset Cascade in basketball

When the game started, the focus was on Cascade’s 6-2 Danielle Love. When it was over, all eyes found someone nearly a foot-and-a-half shorter, Oak Habor’s 4-10 Molly DeLeon.

Behind DeLeon’s 14 points, the Wildcats upset host Cascade 44-33 Friday in girls basketball.

The Bruins were picked in the preseason coaches’ poll to finish second in the Western Conference, primarily because of Love. The Cascade star has already signed a letter of intent to play for Division I University of Oregon next year.

Oak Harbor was picked to finish sixth. The Wildcats’ win was their league opener; they are now 3-0 for the year.

In Oak Harbor’s first two wins, Nicole Mowbray and Jessica Denmon combined for 80 of the ‘Cats 108 points. Cascade figured if they could stop those two, they would win. They were wrong.

The Bruins opened the game with a “junk” defense, a triangle and two. They put two players in man-to-man defense on Mowbray and Denmon while the other three formed a triangle zone in the middle.

The defense slowed the Oak Harbor duo down. Denmon finished with 13 points, Mowbray nine – about half the total the pair averaged together in the first two games.

However, the triangle left openings on the court and DeLeon found them to her liking. She hit six of 10 shots from the floor on route to her 14 points. She previous high was six.

The Wildcats trailed at the end of the first quarter 10-7 then slowly pulled ahead.

Coach Brett McLeod said it took the first quarter for his team to settle down against the odd defense. He made some adjustments, primarily allowing DeLeon to be the primary option in the offense, and the Wildcats took off from there.

While DeLeon was picking up the offensive slack, the Oak Harbor defense was taking care of Love and company.

Love recorded 13 points, but no other Bruin scored more than six. One of the Oak Harbor goals for the game was to hold Cascade, which shoots well from outside, to three or fewer 3-point buckets. The Bruins finished with two against Oak Harbor’s harassing defense.

Also, the much shorter Wildcats dominated the boards, 48-34.

McLeod said, “We were able to hold them to one shot.”

Oak Harbor has three more league games this week. Monday and Wednesday Snohomish and Everett come to Oak Harbor for 7:30 games. Friday the ‘Cats travel to Lake Stevens.

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