Wildcat girls upset Monroe 52-47

After a dismal start, the Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team rallied to upset host Monroe 52-47 Wednesday.

The loss knocked the Bearcats (6-2, 9-3) out of a first-place tie with Marysville-Philchuck. Oak Harbor (4-4, 7-5) moved within a half-game of third win the win. Next up for the Wildcats is a home game with Cascade (2-6, 3-9) Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Monroe has built its success this year with a high-energy pressing defense that has forced an average of 30 turnovers per game. The startled Wildcats buckled under this pressure early as Monroe raced to a 19-7 lead and finished the first quarter up 21-13.

The Bearcats' Suzanna Ohlsen, who averages nearly seven steals a game, was the main thief in the big first quarter and turned those Wildcat miscues into 11 points.

Oak Harbor coach Brett McLeod said after the initial Monroe onslaught, his team "got a lot smarter with the ball." Once Oak Harbor settled down and started to handle the press, McLeod said, the Wildcats forced Monroe into a half-court game and out of its comfort zone.

From that point Oak Harbor controlled the game, held the Bearcats to just two second quarter points and led at the half 27-23.

Monroe was within two late in the game, but Oak Harbor hit its free throws down the stretch to finish the upset.

Balanced scoring was also a key to the Wildcat win. In Oak Harbor's previous game only three players scored, and two of those, Jessica Denmon and Nicole Mowbray, scored all put one point.

Eight different Wildcats scored in the Monroe win. Denmon had 18, Mowbray 11, Clarissa Abadesco eight (and 10 offensive rebounds), Jessica James four, Shantae Young four, Naomi Walker four, Adrianna Royal two and Emilie Renninger two.

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