Oak Harbor girls basketball earns win in home opener

A go-ahead three-pointer with about a minute left helped Oak Harbor secure a win in its home opener.


Special to the News-Times

A go-ahead three-pointer from junior Lilly Grubbs with about a minute remaining helped Oak Harbor secure a win in its home opener Dec. 9.

The Wildcats defeated Blaine 54-51.

“It was a team effort. Everybody chipped in,” said Eric Collins, head coach of Oak Harbor’s girls basketball team.

He said the Saturday evening game was a “back-and-forth battle.” Oak Harbor jumped to a 19-8 lead in the first half, but Blaine pulled within two points at the half. Blaine spent most of the second half leading between three points and nine points.

The Wildcats outscored the Borderites 19-12 in the fourth quarter, Collins said.

Collins said Oak Harbor was led by its three returning varsity players.

Senior AJ White, who plays post, scored 15 points, had seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks. Sophomore Suki Warden, guard, had 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, seven steals and three blocks. Grubbs scored three points and added 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals, Collins said.

He added Sophomore JL Ventura added a couple of three pointers and sophomore Zoe Scott had four points and four rebounds and played a lot of minutes.

With three returning varsity players, Oak Harbor graduated five seniors from last season’s squad that finished the season with an 11-9 record, Collins said.

This year’s team has eight sophomores on varsity.

“We’re a young team, but we have a nice mixture of experience,” Collins said adding the Wildcats will rely on the sophomores as they develop during the season.

He described the Northwest Conference as one of the toughest basketball leagues in the state. The past two seasons saw Oak Harbor make it to the play-in game to the District 1 tournament, but came up short both times.

He said Oak Harbor also has a challenging non-conference schedule that includes games against Mount Vernon Christian and Washougal.

“We expect to be right in the middle of the league,” Collins said. “Our goal is to get a little bit higher and get into district.”

Saturday’s victory against Blaine brings Oak Harbor’s record to 1-2 for the season.

Oak Harbor travels to Nooksack Valley Wednesday to compete against the defending 1A state champions.

Following Wednesday’s game, Oak Harbor has a four-game stretch of games at home that starts with Sedro-Woolley on Dec. 16, Mount Vernon Christian Dec. 18, Anacortes Dec. 20 and Marysville-Pilchuck Dec. 21. Games begin at 7:15 p.m.

Photo by John Fisken

Photo by John Fisken