Boys Basketball: Oak Harbor falls to Cascade, 46-33

“Defense, good. Offense, bad.”

That’s how Oak Harbor High School boys basketball coach Mike Washington Sr. summed up his team’s play in the Wildcats’ 46-33 loss at Cascade Tuesday.

The contest against Cascade (7-3, 9-5) was the first game of the second round of Western Conference play for Oak Harbor (2-7, 3-10). Oak Harbor hosts Snohomish (7-3, 8-6) Friday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. The Panthers, led by John McGee’s 30 points, came from behind to whip the Wildcats 53-48 when the teams first met Dec. 15.

The loss to Cascade broke the Wildcats’ two-game winning streak.

First the good: defense. Oak Harbor limited the high-scoring Bruins to just 46 points. The first time the teams met this season Cascade had 46 points at halftime on the way to a 90-66 win. In that romp Cascade seemed to score at will as it shot an incredible 69 percent from the field. It shot 42 percent (19-45) this time.

Tuesday Oak Harbor “held” Chris McGrath, the Wesco North’s most feared shooter, to 15 points. McGrath, a four-year starter and first-team all-Wesco player, has stung Oak Harbor repeated over the past few years with big scoring nights; he had 26 in the first meeting his year.

The bad: offense. Oak Harbor converted just 12 of 44 shots, a frigid 27 percent. The main culprit was the 3-ball. The Wildcats hit on only two of 20 from long-range. Usually reliable shooters Mike Washington Jr. and Jay Stout were a combined 2-12 from beyond the arc; their teammates, 0-8. Oak Harbor was 10-24 (41.7 percent) on 2-point shots. The Wildcats also committed 15 turnovers, three more than the Bruins, and lost the rebounding battle, 36-27.

Both teams played stingy two-three zones, and both teams were patient offensively. The deliberate offenses used up large chunks of the shot clock each possession, which contributed to the low-scoring game.

Oak Harbor jumped to a 9-2 lead, but the Bruins knotted it up 11-11 by the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats continued to hang with Cascade, primarily because they blanked McGrath. With 26 second left in the first half McGrath scored his first points and Cascade took a 20-18 lead at the break.

With McGrath getting six of Cascade’s eight third-quarter points, the Bruins led 28-24 going into the fourth quarter. Oak Harbor opened the second half by going scoreless for over four minutes.

Washington Jr. sank the first hoop of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to two. After two Cascade scores, Stout sank his only bucket of the game, a 3-pointer, to make it 32-29 with 5:20 left. Oak Harbor would get no closer, scoring just four point the rest of the way.

Washington Jr. ended with 13 points; no other Wildcat scored more than Denzel Harden’s six. Colby Anter had four, Stout and Rashaad Smith three each, and Ryan Fakkema and Aaron Boesch two apiece. Anter grabbed seven rebounds, one more than Stevie Bratt and Washington. Washington led the team with two assists.

Coach Washington said, “We played well. I was happy with our effort; we just couldn’t score.”

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