Season over for Wildcat girls after playoff loss

Shorewood’s girls basketball team drew a curtain on Oak Harbor’s season by defeating the visiting Wildcats 51-43 Friday night.

By winning the playoff game, the Thunderbirds (7-14) from the Western Conference South earned the right to advance to the district tournament and will take on Wesco North champion Monroe next week.

The Wildcats finished the season with an 11-10 record.

The Oak Harbor offense took a break in the first half of each of the first two periods.

Shorewood had a 6-0 lead before Jessica Denmon hit two free throws nearly four minutes into the game. The Wildcats then made up for lost time and finished the quarter in a flurry to tie the Thunderbirds 10-10.

The second quarter started like the first and the ‘Cats went scoreless until Nicole Mowbray broke a 9-0 run by the T-birds to make it 19-12 with 4:08 left in the half. Shorewood still led by five, 23-18, at the break.

The Wildcats, specifically Mowbray, chased away the slow-start blues at the beginning of the third quarter. The Oak Harbor senior started the second half with a 3-point play and then added two more buckets to give the ‘Cats a 25-23 lead. That would be the only time Oak Harbor led.

Shorewood’s Erin Ellersick made short work of the Wildcats’ momentum and lead by knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers. After a Denmon hoop, Ellersick struck again with a 3-point play. That was followed by a layup by Shorewood’s Taylor Nephew, and the Thunderbirds led 34-27.

Four points by Mowbray and a hoop by Clarissa Abedesco (the only field goal scored by a Wildcat other than Mowbray or Denmon in the game) cut the T-bird edge to 36-33 going into the fourth quarter.

Oak Harbor opened the fourth by missing three free throws while Shorewood upped the margin to 40-33.

Denmon countered with Oak Harbor’s only 3-point basket and then two free throws. After a T-bird bucket, Denmon put back an offensive rebound, Mowbray put in a jumper and it was suddenly 42-42 with 2:20 left.

A 3-point play by freshman Masha Shtikel turned the tide toward the Thunderbirds, and Shorewood finished the game on a 9-1 run.

Oak Harbor would score only a single free throw by Mowbray with 26 seconds left.

Wildcat coach Brett McLeod said, “We weren’t ever on the same page offensively.”

He said his club also struggled at the other end of the court and “never got comfortable defensively.”

McLeod said he wasn’t sure why his team played a ragged game, then added, “Maybe it’s because we played two hard games (earlier) this week.” Oak Harbor played the two Wesco North co-champions, Marysville-Pilchuck and Monroe, Monday and Wednesday.

Mowbray, in her final game for Oak Harbor, netted 24 points. Denmon, also playing her last game, added 15.

And it was only fitting that the season came to a close in large part to Oak Harbor’s biggest weakness all year, the inability to generate any consistent offense from anyone other than Mowbray and Denmon.

Abadesco added two free throws to her one field goal to finish with four points. No other Wildcat scored.

Nephew paced the winners with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Shtikel finished with 15 points and Ellersick 11.

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