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Never-say-die Mount Si boys grab must-win Saints game, nearly upset Totems | Photo gallery
The camouflage warm-up jerseys only get broken out in do-or-die moments. Black and red letters spell out "WAR TIME" across the shoulder blades, underlining how the Mount Si boys basketball team treats each game like a battle.
Last week, it was a case of a battle won and a battle lost. The camo jerseys were on display on Friday, Jan. 27, as Mount Si faced Sammamish at home. Missteps in the first half left the Totems with a sizable lead, and although Mount Si battled hard in the second to nearly reclaim the lead, Sammamish held on for a 71-58 win.
But the next day, in a must-win game at home, Mount Si delivered, claiming a 49-39 win over Interlake.
Against the Totems, senior forward Ryan Atkinson delivered a season high of 26 points. He compared his ride that night to a well-played pick-up game.
"I was playing my hardest," he said. Atkinson went to the free-throw line several times on the night after being jostled and floored in mid-charge by Totems players.
"When you go down, you want to get right back up and get at them," Atkinson said. That's exactly what he did.
Getting back into the game was the theme of Friday night's play. The quick, accurate Totems grabbed a 14-2 lead in the first quarter, ending the second 38-18. In the second half, Mount Si pushed hard to close the gap, getting to within 4, 54-50, in the fourth, before shots by Sammamish sealed the deal.
Atkinson stressed playing all four quarters.
"What we did in the second half was great," he said. "When people start making shots and the defense starts closing, it opens up other people."
Atkinson and Anthony McLaughlin worked together, with the senior forward spotting Atkinson.
"We're thankful we came in in the second half and made a game of it," head coach Steve Helm said. "We were hoping to steal this one. You wish you didn't get down by 20 like we did, and have to fight back—it takes a lot of energy, We've got to take care of business."
Against the Saints Saturday, Atkinson shared lead scoring honors with senior guard Miles Zupan, scoring 13 points apiece, followed by junior guard Levi Botten's seven.
"Treat each game like a battle, and you can win the war," Helm said.
Mount Si next plays Bellevue at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, on the road. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 2, Mount Si plays Liberty, 7:30 p.m. at home.
Follow the Mount Si boys basketball team at http://mtsiwildcats.com
Above, Mount Si junior Levi Botten makes an attempt at the basket during play Friday. Below, Anthony McLaughlin goes up for a shot against Sammamish on Friday.