For the second straight game, the Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team mounted a furious second-half rally; this time, however, the Wildcats were unable to claw all the way back in a 67-63 non-league loss to visiting Mount Vernon Friday, Dec. 28.
Oak Harbor erased a 20-point deficit in a win at Bellingham Dec. 22. The Wildcats trailed Mount Vernon by 14 at halftime but ran out of time before completing the comeback.
The loss to the Bulldogs finished the non-league portion of Oak Harbor’s schedule. The Wildcats (1-2, 3-6) close out the season with 11 consecutive Wesco games, starting with Cedarcrest (2-1, 6-2) at home at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4.
Playing poor transition defense and allowing second-change points put Oak Harbor in an early hole against Mount Vernon, according to coach John Weston.
“We made some adjustments, and I was really proud of the guys’ resilience in the second half,” Weston said. “They flew around in our press and played better defense in the half court, giving up only 24 points. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win after a 14-point halftime deficit, and that’s all you can ask for.”
In the opening quarter, Kevin Schuldt scored Oak Harbor’s first 7 points and Dorian Hardin then tacked on 8, but it wasn’t enough and Mount Vernon took a 19-18 lead.
The Bulldogs, behind four three-point hoops, outscored Oak Harbor 24-11 in the second period to take a 43-29 lead into the locker room.
Mount Vernon (7-3) is young and talented with a varsity roster sans seniors and a starting lineup that includes three sophomores.
The Bulldogs, however, began to show their age in the second half as they crumbled under Oak Harbor’s second-half pressure.
Oak Harbor made it a 10-point game, 55-45, going into the final quarter and then got within 4 in the final two minutes.
Hardin led the charge with 13 fourth-quarter points, including a trio of three-pointers, on the way to a game-high 30 points.
The senior guard “had a terrific game,” Weston said. “He played tremendous defense and was a steady scorer. He knocked down a couple huge threes late in the fourth to keep us close.”
Schuldt finished with 14 points.
Weston lauded Schuldt’s effort, adding, the senior wing “showed great leadership and toughness” and “did a good job attacking.”
Andrew Baloy had 5 points, Gavin Allen 4, Austin Boesch 3, Haven Brown 3, Matt Kelley 2 and Evan Nadeau 2.
Mount Vernon countered Hardin’s big night by having five players score between 9 and 14 points.