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Chip on their shoulders: Mount Si basketball team bringing physicality to postseason battle | Slideshow
The Mount Si boys basketball team looks to be peaking at the right time, as they approach some crucial postseason battles.
The team is playing with confidence and absorbing some key lessons, as is shown in the Wildcat’s home win, 56-40 against Juanita on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Strong play by seniors Tyler McCreadie, Jack Nelson and Beau Shain anchored a very athletic performance.
Nelson was Mount Si’s main scoring force, putting up 19 on the night, including several long field goals. McCreadie had a double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Shain was a big rebounder, adding 14.
“It was all about the physicality,” said sophomore forward Parker Dumas, who added 11 points.
“We were taller than them, but I think we were playing harder than them, too,” added McCreadie. “It was getting it swinging, getting it moving on defense.”
Dumas praised McCreadie: “He came out big, and got us in that lead.”
“We just try to keep it strong, keep it high,” McCreadie said.
“Our game plan tonight was to feed Tyler the ball,” said Nelson, and it worked. “We’re playing great basketball right now. We’re excited.”
“Tyler has been huge for us,” said Mount Si coach Kyle Clearman. “When he goes, we go. Same with Jack, same with Beau. Our senior leaders keep us going.”
“Tonight, getting it inside, we had a dominating performance, offensively and defensively. When we play to our strengths, we’re a pretty good basketball team,” the coach added.
At first, it looked like an easy win. Mount Si jumped out to a lead, but the Rebels were determined to give them a good game. Juanita clawed their way to within a few buckets in the latter half, in part due to a lack of focus on Mount Si’s end. That’s something Clearman wants to improve.
“It’s been a problem, giving up too many points in the fourth quarter. Going into playoffs, that can’t happen. We need to play tough.”
Big plays and loud cheers
While McCreadie, Shain or Dumas are scrapping their way closer to the net, chances are Nelson is strategizing for a sweet shot.
“If I can find a little spot where the defense loses track of me, get my feet set, then I’m ready to go.”
Forward JoJo Hillel elicited cheers when he nearly dunked on a fast break.
“I’ve been bugging my teammates that I could get one,” the junior said.
Isaac Benedict also got loud cheers for his fast hands, tipping away a Juanita layup in the second quarter on a Rebel fast break.
“I was just trying to not let them get into the post for that,” the sophomore said.
“We had some good ball movement today,” said sophomore Danny Tomson. “ A lot of defensive steals, too. We just need to finish our layups.”
Tomson is finding varsity play a fast-paced affair—“It’s a quick game.”
“It’s been a team effort to make sure their confidence is up,” Nelson said of younger teammates. “They’re starting to play really well. We need everyone clicking if we’re going to do what we want to do.”
Now, Mount Si needs to focus that energy going into a crucial contest with Bellevue Tuesday. The Wildcat win over Juanita sends them to the semi-finals, Tuesday, Feb. 11, playing the Wolverines at Bellevue College, and granting a place at the SeaKing district tournament.
“We’re going to come out with a huge chip on our shoulder,” Nelson said.
Follow Mount Si at http://mtsiwildcats.com.
Tyler McCreadie takes advantage of his height, jumping for a shot.
Nowhere to go: McCreadie and Shain cover Juanita's Conner Kurfess.
Jack Nelson is airborne, taking a wild shot.
Parker Dumas steels himself and goes up for a shot against the Rebels.
Beau Shain leaps for a layup.
Junior Jonathan Hillel races downcourt on a fast break for a dunk attempt.
Danny Tomson on the free-throw line.
Senior Jack Nelson jockeys for a shot attempt. Below, junior Jonathan Hillel races downcourt on a fast break for a dunk attempt.
Tyler McCreadie takes a free throw.
Isaac Benedict pushes the ball on offense.
Nelson makes a free-throw attempt. At rear are JoJo Hillel, Juanita's Tavin Montgomery, and Isaac Benedict.