Snohomish holds off Oak Harbor boys for 59-47 win

Snohomish built a big third-quarter lead then withstood a late Oak Harbor rally to defeat the host Wildcats 59-47 Friday.

Oak Harbor (2-8, 3-11) next takes on Everett (1-10, 3-12) here Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7:30.

Down 10 early in the second quarter, Oak Harbor narrowed the game gap to 26-22 at the half. The Panther’s early surge was led by Blane Ortiz who scored 16 of Snohomish’s first 22 points as he and his teammates found holes in Oak Harbor’s 2-3 zone.

Mike Washington Jr. scored the first points of the second half to move Oak Harbor to within two, 26-24, with 6:59 left in the quarter. Then the tide turned.

The Panthers went on a 20-0 run as Oak Harbor went scoreless for almost seven minutes. Denzel Hardin finally ended the Snohomish streak with a twisting drive to the hoop with three seconds left in the period.

Snohomish opened the final quarter with a bucket to make it 48-26, and while the game appeared to be all but over, the Wildcats refused to quit.

A free throw by Jay Stout, two by Washington, then back-to-back three-balls by Washington and Hardin, all within two minutes, cut the score to 48-35.

Later in the period Washington drained another three, Trace Paul completed a three- point play, and Washington struck again from long range. Than made it 54-44 with 2:32 left, and Oak Harbor had possession, ready to cut more deeply into the Panther lead.

The Wildcats, however, missed and were forced to start fouling.

Snohomish hit five of seven free throws in the final 1:14; and to make life more miserable for the Wildcats, grabbed offensive rebounds on the two misses.

Oak Harbor could muster only one bucket, a three-pointer by Hardin, in the final moments.

The obvious culprit in the Oak Harbor defeat was the nasty 20-0 run by Snohomish in the third period. However, rebounding may have had a greater bearing on the outcome of the game.

Even with that seven-minute dry spell in the third quarter, the Wildcats shot a decent 45 percent (13-33) in the game. Oak Harbor also committed just 10 turnovers. (Snohomish had seven.)

The Panthers shot an excellent 51 percent (25-49) for the game, but they also launched 16 more shots than Oak Harbor, which puts the focus back on rebounding.

Snohomish won the battle of the boards 33-20 and limited the Wildcats to only two offensive rebounds while grabbing 11 of its own. Therefore, only twice did Snohomish allow Oak Harbor second-shot opportunities in the game.

Ortiz, who did not play in Snohomish’s 53-48 win over Oak Harbor earlier this season, finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Jon McGee, who got 30 in the first game, scored 15 Friday.

Washington topped Oak Harbor with 24 points. He was also second in rebounds with four (Rashaad Smith had six) and first in assists with three.

Hardin scored eight points and had two assists. Paul added six points, Stout five and Smith four.

Oak Harbor coach Mike Washington Sr. said, “I can’t fault our effort, we just couldn’t knock down shots in the third quarter. I’m pleased with our effort; Snohomish was just the better team tonight.”

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