Wildcat girls headed to regional tourney

The Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team had a strong run in the Kingco Tournament at Bellevue Community College last week and as a result, took home a second-place seed into the SeaKing District Tournament.

Despite sluggishness, Wildcats beat MI

The Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team opened the tournament with a hard-fought win over Mercer Island.

For much of the contest it didn't appear that the Wildcats would beat the Islanders, but senior Nicole Remish saved the day. She scored a game-high 26 points, including 11 in the final period, as Mount Si overcame a sluggish effort and took care of M.I. 63-53.

Two critical scoring runs for the Wildcats in the second half came out of time-outs.

The first of those important Wildcat time-outs came when Mount Si was trailing by six points, 29-35 with 4:23 left in the third. Following that stoppage, the Wildcats went on a 14-6 run to take the lead going into the final quarter. M.I. retook the lead and was attempting to widen it with 6:39 left in the final stanza when Mount Si coach Dirk Hansen called another time-out. Following that time-out, the Wildcats went on a 20-5 run to close out the game.

During the time-outs, "I just told them, 'We need to get out there and make sure we're getting a hand up and contesting shots," Hansen said. "We just weren't getting out on their perimeter shooters. Everybody thought that we'd walk in here and blow them out by 20 points, but Mercer Island is a good basketball team."

Mount Si dominates tough Newport team

Considering how well the Newport Knights have played against the Wildcats this season - first in a victory at Newport on Jan. 11 then in a close loss in Snoqualmie on Feb. 2 - it would have seemed that Mount Si was going to be in for a battle. But this was the response from the Wildcats: Not so fast.

Behind a strong effort from freshman sensation Madison Yakaboski, Mount Si took a 35-16 lead at half, and made surprisingly quick work of the senior-laden Knights. The 'Cats pulled out a 64-45 last Thursday and clinched a spot in the league tournament title game and a first-round bye in the district tournament.

Yakaboski scored 23 points, and Mount Si's defense did a great job as well, holding Newport sharpshooter Tricia Dixon, a Wildcat killer this season, to just 10 points.

'The Melissa Richardson Show'

Many of the fans who came to watch the Mount Si boys win the Kingco tournament boys' title last Friday stayed to watch the Wildcat girls compete for the league tournament championship. They saw a fine effort put in by the Valley's own, but it was an Issaquah Eagle who stole the show and made sure the league title went back to her team.

Issaquah senior Melissa Richardson scored 35 points, 17 of which came in the first quarter, and the Eagles took a 21-8 lead and cruised to a 63-50 win over Mount Si. Issaquah coach Kathy Gibson praised Richardson's all-around performance.

"Every night, Melissa brings her game, and the thing that I want to give credit to, more importantly, is we always ask her to defend the other team's best player," Gibson said. "So you consider she had 35 points, and that's awesome, but not only did she do that, I think she did a fantastic job defending Madison [Yakaboski]."

Even with Richardson's defense, Yakaboski scored 20 points to lead the Wildcats. Remish added 13 and Caitie Richards chipped in 12 to pace Mount Si. Aubrey Jensen scored 15 to pace the Eagles' effort.

Richardson, not surprisingly, won the league MVP award.

"It was one of my goals, so I'm just really pumped and excited that I got it," Richardson said.

The Wildcats open the SeaKing District Tournament Thursday at 3 p.m. at BCC against a Metro League opponent to be determined. Mount Si will have to get two straight wins to make state. Among the possible Wildcat opponents in district will be Chief Sealth. Sealth is considered to be the top team in the state and arguably among the best on the entire West Coast. With that in mind, Chief Sealth is favored to win state again this season.

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