OAK HARBOR – Basketball is fun when shots are dropping. Unless you’re the team playing defense.
Oak Harbor certainly enjoyed Saturday’s game as it topped Woodmore 71-51 in a non-conference matchup. The Rockets made 20 of 27 shots in the first half and Andrea Cecil finished with 29 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
“That was a fun game to play in,” said Cecil, whose parents are Woodmore graduates. “We were hitting shots, we were playing good defense and making great passes to each other.”
Oak Harbor coach Tom Kontak was thrilled with his team’s start.
“We’ve really tried to spend our last 10 days in practice shooting the basketball and keeping in that rhythm without losing our legs so that we’re fresh,” he said. “This is the time of the year that a lot of teams are ready to pack it in and head home. We’d like to think we’re fresh with our legs and with our minds.”
Emma Barney added 15 points for the Rockets (12-8).
“Our shots were just falling,” Barney said. “They were giving us just enough time to get the shot off and they were going in.”
Oak Harbor hit nine of its first 10 shots, including five 3-pointers for a 25-10 lead before Cecil went to the bench with 10 points. Even when the Rockets missed it wasn’t a problem as they collected two offensive rebounds and added a bucket the next time down the floor.
Athena Eli scored late in the first quarter as Oak Harbor led 31-12.
“Offensively, they came out and exploded,” Woodmore coach Kyle Clair said. “We knew they were a great team. Andrea puts up big numbers. They’ve got 3-point shooters all over the place. We kind of had to weather the storm.”
Oak Harbor made 11 of 14 shots in the first quarter. The Wildcats (7-14) did not have a rebound.
“This was easily our best start to any game since (opening night against) Rossford,” Rockets post Maddy Rathbun said. “It was huge because we’ve been struggling getting a great start to our games.”
Oak Harbor maintained the momentum as Emma Bergman drained a 3-pointer and freshman Abby Dornbusch connected on a pair of free throws early in the second quarter. Cecil and Barney scored again for a 40-12 edge.
Dornbusch scored twice more in the final minute of the quarter for a 50-18 lead at half-time.
“In the first half we came out on fire,” Eli said. “Working in practice paid off. They came out in zone, which allowed us to shoot mid-range and behind the 3-point line.”
Kontak has noticed a difference in Cecil lately.
“In the last five or six days of practice, she’s got a little giddy-up in her step,” he said. “Quite frankly, we played how we’ve practiced since last Saturday. You’re going to play like you practice.
“As long as we stay fresh, confident and team-oriented, we feel like we’re in a good place right now.”
Woodmore finally got its offense moving a little in the second half, outscoring Oak Harbor 33-21.
“Our girls came in the locker room with their heads down a bit, but we told them to come out in the second half with some energy and some intensity and you never know what could happen,” Clair said. “I’m really proud of our effort in the second half.”
Lily Rothert led the Wildcats with 11 points, Makenzie Hoffman had nine, and Jordan Williams added eight points and seven rebounds. The Wildcats played without starters Mackenzie Johnson and Jordan Grzegorczyk because of injuries.
“When we can be the aggressor, we’re a good basketball team,” Clair said. “We need to start believing that because we have some important games coming up.”
Dornbusch tallied 10 points while Rathbun added five rebounds.
“Emma Barney is playing superb ball,” Kontak said. “Maddy is under-sized, but kept battling.”
The Rockets’ play has been up and down throughout the season.
“We have overcome a lot of obstacles this year,” Cecil said. “That only makes us closer as a team – on and off the court. We can’t wait to start the tournament together.”