The Oak Harbor fans and bench react to Dorian Hardin’s game-winning shot.	(Photo by John Fisken)

The Oak Harbor fans and bench react to Dorian Hardin’s game-winning shot. (Photo by John Fisken)

Buzzer-beater helps Wildcats ring in the new year / Boys basketball

Happy New Year!

Dorian Hardin’s long three-point shot as time expired helped the Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team greet 2018 with a 61-59 comeback win over visiting Shorewood Tuesday, Jan. 2.

The win was the Wildcats’ third in four games after beginning the season with seven losses. After four straight home games, Oak Harbor (1-2, 3-8) now goes on the road, facing Stanwood (2-1, 6-5) at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5.

The Wildcats trailed Shorewood 53-42 late in the third quarter, then rallied for their first Wesco win.

Oak Harbor still trailed by 8, 59-51, with three minutes remaining when Hardin drilled a three-ball to ignite the comeback. Gabe Salinger followed with a hoop, and Ozell Jackson sank two foul shots, and it was 59-58 with 1:40 left.

The Wildcats forced consecutive Thunderbird turnovers but couldn’t capitalize on the first.

The second miscue came when Jackson tipped a Shorewood inbounds pass and Oak Harbor scooped up the loose ball with 28 seconds to go. The Wildcats missed on a shot that would have tied the game but came up with the offensive rebound.

Hardin, under heavy defensive pressure, then swished a shot from the right wing at the buzzer.

The final offensive rebound was the last of 23 for Oak Harbor. Shorewood had only four in the game, and the Wildcats outscored the T-birds 20-2 in second-chance points.

In all, Oak Harbor out-rebounded Shorewood 41-20.

The work on the offensive boards helped the Wildcats overcome a good shooting night by the Thunderbirds. Shorewood shot 52 percent (57 percent from beyond the arc, 8-for-14) to Oak Harbor’s 38 percent, but the Wildcats were able to put up 13 more shots.

Oak Harbor also converted on five more free throws than the T-birds. In fact, the Wildcats did not commit a foul in the game until the 2:57 mark of the third quarter, and Shorewood attempted only two free throws.

Oak Harbor led 10-9 midway through the first period and wouldn’t lead again until Hardin’s final shot. Shorewood led 18-16, 38-33 and 53-44 at the quarters.

The first half was a bit of a three-fest. Each team sank six from beyond the arc before the break.

Hardin finished with 13 points, Kevin Schuldt 10, Austin Boesch 9, Haven Brown 9, Weston Whitefoot 8, Gabe Salinger 8, Jackson 2 and Gavin Allen 2.

Schuldt, who coach John Weston said “gave us really good minutes,” also had 11 rebounds (five on offense), two assists, a steal and a block.

Schuldt wasn’t the only one to fill up the stat sheet. Hardin had six rebounds (all on offense), two assists and a steal; Whitefoot added seven boards (six on offense), an assist and a steal and took a charge; Brown had five rebounds, five assists and three steals; Jackson collected five rebounds; and Allen handed out three assists.

Skylar Hammer had 19 points and seven assists for Shorewood (0-3, 1-10).

“The kids made enough plays to put themselves in a position to win,” Weston said. “Dorian made a hell of a shot.

“I told the kids to bask in it, a league win, and we will get back at it Friday.”

Dorian Hardin, who would later hit the game-winning shot for Oak Harbor, sinks a free throw in the third quarter.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Dorian Hardin, who would later hit the game-winning shot for Oak Harbor, sinks a free throw in the third quarter. (Photo by John Fisken)

Weston Whitefoot puts up a shot after grabbing an offensive rebound.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Weston Whitefoot puts up a shot after grabbing an offensive rebound. (Photo by John Fisken)

Haven Brown launches a three-point shot for Oak Harbor. (Photo by John Fisken)

Haven Brown launches a three-point shot for Oak Harbor. (Photo by John Fisken)

The photo above and the others below follow Oak Harbor’s celebration after Dorian Hardin hit a buzzer-beater to earn the Wildcats the win over Shorewood Tuesday. Hardin is smoothered by his teammates and fans in the final photograph.	(Photos by John Fisken)

The photo above and the others below follow Oak Harbor’s celebration after Dorian Hardin hit a buzzer-beater to earn the Wildcats the win over Shorewood Tuesday. Hardin is smoothered by his teammates and fans in the final photograph. (Photos by John Fisken)

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