Depleted Wildcat girls lose to Lake Stevens

The short-handed Oak Harbor girls basketball team fell to host Lake Stevens 46-36 Friday.

The Vikings, who were picked in the preseason coaches’ poll to win the Wesco North, have struggled and picked up the much-needed win to raise their record to 2-3, 2-4 overall. The Wildcats fell to 2-2 and 4-2.

The Wildcats, who have been without injured guard Janelle Yoshimoto all year, lost point guard Molly DeLeon to a possibly season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter. Freshman reserve guard Naomi Walker, whose solid play recently, according to coach Brett McLeod, was going to increase her playing time, was injured in practice Thursday and missed the Viking game.

McLeod said, “The game was an uphill battle the whole time.”

To make matters worse for the depleted Wildcats, their second-leading scorer Nicole Mowbray was saddled with foul trouble and played “maybe 10 minutes,” according to McLeod, and did not score.

That enabled Lake Stevens to concentrate on stopping Oak Harbor’s other offensive gun, Jessica Denmon, with a box-and-one defense.

After a 10-10 first quarter, the Vikings jumped to a 28-18 halftime lead.

McLeod turned to his already thin bench in the third quarter and inserted freshman Emilie Renninger and sophomore Tatiana Cumming. Renninger, just back from her own injury, responded by hitting three 3-pointers. Cumming added another trey and the Wildcats cut the lead to three.

However, the Wildcats defense broke down when they needed stops the most and gave up several easy buckets to the Vikings, according to McLeod. He said, “When we needed stops, we couldn’t get them.”

Denmon finished with 13 points, Renninger nine, Clarissa Abadesco five, Jessica James four, Cumming three and DeLeon two.

Oak Harbor hosts the annual Santa Slam tournament Dec. 30 and 31. Sub-varsity play begins at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. The first varsity match up, Anacortes vs. Kentridge, begins at 6:15 p.m. Oak Harbor’s varsity meets Eatonville at 8 p.m.

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