Girls' basketball starts season strong

The Mount Si Wildcats and Holy Names Cougars were scheduled to meet each other in what looked to be a really good tilt Nov. 29 to open the season for the Wildcat girls' basketball team but the game was postponed due to snow. Last Monday, Dec. 5, the two teams finally met, and what started out as looking like a one-sided rout turned into the tilt that was expected.

Devin Brooks scored 16 points and Anna Martin added a dozen, as the Cougars outlasted a strong Wildcat run and won 56-50 over Mount Si in what became a very entertaining contest. Caitie Richards scored 20 to lead all scorers in defeat for the Wildcats and Madison Yakaboski added 13 points of her own.

"We knew that we had our hands full coming in here. They're the number five ranked team in the state and one of the top teams in Metro," said Mount Si coach Dirk Hansen. The coach added that fans can look for more Metro League in the future.

"If we ever want to get to the state tournament you've got to get through Metro first, so from now on I'm scheduling Metro schools for our basketball program so we can get a little flavor about Metro ball," Hansen said.

The Cougars overcame a slow start and pulled away over the course of the first half to build their lead to as many as 14 points early in the third quarter before Mount Si rallied. The Wildcats got to within four points of tying the game late but could get no closer, as Martin and Brooks hit critical free throws to seal the game. Holy Name's coach Lee Adams said his team had to work hard for the win.

"I think we were bothered a little bit by the pressure and had some turnovers, but overall to come all the way out here and get a win is okay with me," Adams said.

The Wildcats returned to league play Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Mercer Island, and by doing that also returned to the win column, with a victory over a game Islanders team. Yakaboski and Richards again teamed up to get the job done in a 55-41 win.

Yakaboski scored 21 points to lead Mount Si, while Richards added 14.

The Wildcats welcomed a very experienced Liberty Patriots group Friday, Dec. 8, and needed Jordyn Wilson in a big way to stave off the Patriots.

Mount Si, after taking a 22-15 lead at the half, went on an 11-2 run to open the third quarter, behind the efforts of both Yakaboski and Symone Shaw. Liberty, though, responded by closing out the quarter on a 15-4 run, largely due to the hot hand of Clair Bergam from beyond the three-point line; she hit three threes in that sequence. Bergam finished with 16 points.

With the Wildcats nursing a 35-32 lead going into the final stanza and Liberty on fire looking for the upset, out came Wilson to put an end to the upset talk. Her three with 6:50 left in the game sparked Mount Si's offense early in the frame but then another hot hand surfaced from three-point range for the Patriots, Kaylin Takata, and Liberty made it tight again. However, Wilson's bucket and subsequent free throw (she was fouled on the play) with about two minutes left launched another late flurry which closed out a 57-51 Mount Si win. The sophomore finished with 11 points. Yakaboski finished with 19 points and Richards popped in 17.

"I just gave it my all because I knew they were coming back and I just said in my head 'I just want to play as hard as I can right now and give it my all," Wilson said.

Takata and Ashley Hayes each finished with 10 points to pace Liberty. Overall, it was a team win.

"We worked really hard on defense and offense and my shooting game was off but I worked really hard on defense to try and make it up and yeah, I think we did really well," said freshman Allysa McLauchlin, who had some good shot attempts but none found the basket.

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