'Cats win season opener

SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats girls' basketball team opened their 2004-05 campaign last Saturday night. The Wildcats are a talented, veteran team with high expectations for the upcoming season and with the addition of a quality player from California, look as good on paper as they've ever been.

The Wildcats did not disappoint in their nonleague contest against the Bothell Cougars. Veteran senior guard Whitney Beyerlin scored a game-high 26 points, and newcomer, junior Tori Ewing made her presence felt in her first Wildcat varsity game as Mount Si led from start to finish, defeating the Kingco 4A Cougars 65-53 at Mount Si High School.

"All my shots just seemed to fall, and at practice, our defense has been really good, so it's helped me to practice to get open shots," said Beyerlin, whose points came just in the first three quarters.

The Wildcats led all the way, largely due to a stifling, scrappy defense.

"Well, tonight was just a typical Mount Si girls' basketball night, flying around, [and] having fun," said Wildcats Coach Dirk Hansen.

The effort defensively was a team one, as virtually every Wildcat player helped in some way to shut down the Cougars' attack. Of particular note was Ewing. While she only chipped in six points, her first points as a Mount Si player, she made a name for herself under the basket. Defensively, she also made a big statement..

"I just wanted to come to this game, [and] show what I want to give to the Mount Si program, and I think I felt it today," said Ewing.

Hansen agreed Ewing was a force on the court.

"Tori's a workhorse. She's our workhorse, and she works hard around that basket, and normally she finishes a little bit better than what she did tonight, but she's going to have some great nights," Hansen said. "But the most important thing about Tori is that she's a really, really great teammate and she's [someone] that we value. She's a girl that we value on our team very much."

The scrappiness early on resulted in a lot of fouls as the Wildcats fouled Bothell 11 times in the first quarter.

"I think we were just really excited to play in our first game and it shows we had a lot [of] intensity. We just need to learn to move our feet but we'll get over that in practice," said Beyerlin.

Mount Si led 22-11 after one quarter, blew out to a 38-22 lead at halftime, then overcame a Cougars surge early in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

In addition to Beyerlin and Ewing's contributions, Rachel Travis pumped in nine points to help the Wildcats.

Emily Kalstad led the Cougars with 13 points, while teammates Ashley Vierra and Kaitlin McBride each pitched in 11 points apiece to pace Bothell.

Mount Si's girls next play Lake Washington, another Kingco 4A team, Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Hansen expects the challenge to be tougher.

"They're [the Kangaroos] a team [that] we battled a lot in fall league basketball and they're coming to get us. They're another strong 4A basketball team and we have our work cut out for us. They're big, they're strong, they can shoot and we're going to have to cut down on our turnovers if we have any intentions of being able to compete with Lake Washington next Saturday," said Hansen, but then added, "We're not afraid to play the big 4As. We don't care. We'll play anybody."

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