By Quint Turner
For the Mavs, this was one of the most important games of the season. They had to win two of the season’s final two games, starting tonight, to get into districts. However, the Oak Harbor Wildcats had different plans, as they earned a two-game lead on Meadowdale in the standings, and are practically a lock for districts, thanks to Michael Washington Jr.’s 17 points, including a game-winning jumper to give the Wildcats a 43-42 win Thursday.
On the Meadowdale side, Spencer Linton had his best game in a long time, knocking down four three-pointers and leading all scorers with 20 points. If the Mavs want to get to districts, they are going to need him to deliver like Thursday.
The first quarter was a defensive struggle. With both sides using similar man-to-man strategies, it was even for most of the quarter. The score was tied at 4 when Charlie White drove on a one-on-one and made a nifty crossover move for a lay-in to cap a 6-0 MHS run 3 minutes in. But Jamacio Webster responded when he hit the only Wildcat three of the night to put them right back up at 7-6. Then White went up for a lay-in the other way and Dayne Herron swatted the shot out of the way to keep the Wildcats up 1.
But White would have the last laugh, as he blocked a Washington lay-up and Torin Dooley picked it up and went the other way. Dooley then had a great pass down low to Brian Feldhaus for his only two points of the game, and it was 10-7. The Wildcats responded with a bucket of their own, and it was 10-9 Meadowdale at the end of the quarter.
The second was mostly controlled by the Wildcats. It started when Kevawn Brooks hit away another White lay-in, and a few minutes later he picked up a loose ball midcourt after an errant pass and took it the other way for a lay-in. The Wildcats went up 13-10 on the play, and right after Webster did the exact same thing for another easy lay-up, and it was suddenly 15-10 OHHS. The Wildcats got an 8-0 run that was finally stopped when Dooley dropped a pass from the top of the key down to Linton for an easy lay-up to make it 17-12. Dooley then hit a three that started to turn the tide of the game, and it was 18-15 OHHS, but that momentum stopped when Washington got his own rebound off a missed shot, and his put-back went in while being fouled. He made the free throw, and the score was 21-15 Wildcats at the end of the half.
Linton took over the third. Both teams were trading baskets early. Matt Burgoyne received a pass down low, and he got around the MHS defense and made it 21-15 on a easy lay-in. After Oak Harbor went up 10 thanks to another Washington two, Dooley hit a deep three to cut the lead to 29-22 with 4:30 to go. Then, with 1:50 left in the thrd, Linton hit a three to make it just 29-25. After the Wildcats went the other way and scored, Linton hit another three to just make it 31-28. Right after though, Brooks drove right through the MHS defense and had a simple lay-up and it was 33-28. But then the Mavs handed it to Linton again. And he delivered, with another three, and it was 33-31. However, the Wildcats got another two points right before the buzzer, and they took a 35-31 lead into the fourth.
Suddenly, the Mavs had the momentum again. Dooley caught a missed three, and put it back to make it 37-33. They earned a stop, and scored another two, and Oak Harbor couldn’t score again. The ball was given to Linton, and he scorched his fourth three of the game and gave the Mavs the 38-37 lead with 5:40 to go. But Brooks once again responded — this time he hit a 10-footer in a double team to retake the lead 39-38.
With the Mavs up 40-39, Washington drove and drew a foul on the way to the basket, and he hit both free throws to put the Wildcats up 41-40 with 1:25 left. But Linton scored his last points of the game when he drove and some way, somehow got off a shot in traffic that bounced in to make it 42-41 MHS with only 30 seconds to go. After a timeout was called by OHHS with 21.4 seconds left, the Wildcats inbounded the ball, managed to waste 10 seconds, and gave the ball to Washington. Washington got isolation on a 10-footer and sank the shot with 6.1 seconds left. Dooley tried shooting a deep three that bounced off the rim to Linton, but as Linton went up for the possible winning field goal, he got the shot off after the buzzer. The Wildcats won 43-42.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 6-10 (6-6 in conference), and their next game is Friday at home, versus the Wesco 3A No. 1 (and undefeated) Mountlake Terrace Hawks. With the Mavs’ loss, they fall to 6-11 (4-8 in conference), and their next game is Friday at Wesco 3A No. 3 Shorecrest.
The final four Mav games are two away, at Shorecrest and Shorewood, and two at home vs. Mountlake Terrace and Marysville-Getchell.
Meadowdale scoreboard: Charlie White 4; Spencer Linton 20; Matt Hirsch 6; Brian Feldhaus 2; Torin Dooley 10
Sports correspondent Quint Turner is a sophomore at Meadowdale High School.