Winter prep preview / Oak Harbor girls basketball

The Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team will lean on its defense this winter to climb up the Western Conference standings.

The Wildcats’ top three scorers from last year graduated, so Oak Harbor will “have to find ways to get easy baskets,” according to coach Jon Atkins.

To do that, Oak Harbor will need to create fast-break opportunities off turnovers, and those turnovers will come from a ball-hawking defense.

“I think we will be a solid defensive team,” Atkins said. “We have been very good at getting stops with this group.”

The Wildcats return six letter winners from a club that went 4-15 last year and finished 12th in the Western Conference.

Among the returnees are three seniors: Delija Cammon, Sam Hines and Jordan Wood-Pina.

The other letter winners are junior Emily Gouge and sophomores Mikhaela Cortez and Olivia Waite.

Atkins said key newcomers junior Miranda Wilson and sophomores Jasmine Ford and Sarah Mensa will add depth.

The goal for the season, Atkins said, is to “compete in a tough Wesco league every game.”

“We are going to have a sophomore-heavy group and they are going to have to learn the physicality of Wesco girls basketball,” he added.

Atkins likes the attitude of his club and is looking forward to their efforts this winter.

“I think we have a great group of girls on and off the court, and I am excited for this season,” he said.

The Wildcats will get ready for the season by playing in the Sedro-Woolley jamboree at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25.

Oak Harbor goes to Lakewood (6-15 last year) at 7:15 Monday, Nov. 27, and then hosts Mountlake Terrace (3-17) in the first home game at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29.