Mount Si falls to Eagles

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcat boys' basketball team struggled early in last Tuesday's conference opener against the Issaquah Eagles and despite a great second-half comeback, fell short, thanks to the efforts of arguably the best player in the Kingco 3A Conference.

Senior guard Garrison Carr scored an eye-popping 37 points as the Eagles downed the Wildcats 70-61.

"We came out and executed the game plan to perfection and got a big lead and it carried us through. We always know this [Mount Si] is a really, really tough place to play. Nothing ever comes easy here, so we didn't expect it to be easy and it wasn't," said Issaquah coach Jeff Patrick.

The clear differences in the two halves for Mount Si was all about effort and execution.

"Oh, I challenged them, that's all there is to it," said Wildcat coach Garrick Phillips. "I was very, very disappointed in our effort in the first half. It wasn't about execution or fundamentals, where we did a lot of things wrong, but it was mostly about effort. We pride ourselves in this program and with this team in effort, and there was a serious lack of effort in the first half and that's what's disappointing. It really hurts to drop a league game at home."

The Eagles, buoyed by 3-pointers from Carr and junior guard Brendon Frye, bolted out to a quick 8-0 lead on their way to a staggering 27-7 lead at the end of one quarter. Mount Si was unable to make much headway until the third quarter, when the Wildcats outscored Issaquah 24-16 in the frame to cut the deficit down to 10 points, 53-43 Eagles, at the end of the third. Mount Si came within two points of tying the game late in the fourth quarter, but Issaquah pulled away, and held on.

The strong second half performance could possibly become a building block for the Wildcats' future.

"We can look at that as a positive and think of that as a good way to play the whole entire game and just come out and aim to execute and get things done," said Wildcat junior forward Kevin Englund, who scored 16 points to lead Mount Si.

Junior guards Ryan Reilly (13 points) and Kyle Meuli (11) paced the Wildcats.

Mount Si rebounded last Thursday with a wild road win at Liberty. The Wildcats, trailing at halftime, outscored the Patriots 33-24 in the second half to pick up a 48-47 nail-biter for their first conference win. Englund is developing quickly as the successor to the graduated Jeremy Johnston in the post. Englund had his second straight 16-point game for Mount Si to lead all scorers. Senior starter Noah Bartholomew and reserve Anthony Kane scored 11 a piece to lead Liberty.

The Wildcats continued their winning ways at the Les Schwab tournament at Seattle Pacific University's Brougham Pavilion. Led by a strong second-quarter performance, in which Mount Si outscored Seattle Christian 20-6, the Wildcats took care of business, 60-47. Senior Erik Tierney scored a game-high 18 to lead Mount Si and Trevor Peterson scored 15 to lead Seattle Christian in defeat.

With the presumed parity in Kingco 3A boys' basketball this season, every win is important.

"It's going to be brutal this year. I mean, every team, I think, in Kingco this year is solid. I don't think there's any standout teams, so there could be a bunch of us all lined up, you know, [at] 7-5, 8-4, things like that. I think people are going to knock people off all over the board this year," said Patrick.

League favorite Interlake lost both of their conference games last week, first to Sammamish last Tuesday and then again on Thursday versus Patrick's Eagles.

This season looks to be a very good one all around.

Mount Si hosts the Saints this Friday prior to the holiday break and their three-game tournament in San Diego. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.

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