Wildcat girls continue to struggle against good teams

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SNOQUALMIE - After scoring an impressive win against Cedarcrest, then getting blown away against Skyline last week, the Mount Si Wildcats girls' basketball team was looking to make a statement last Friday at home against the best team in the conference.

However, the Bellevue Wolverines had other ideas, taking full control of the game in the first half, then hanging on late to defeat the Wildcats 54-44.

Senior Leanne Bellar scored 12 points, and junior Gretchen Buchberger scored 11 to pace a balanced Bellevue attack. Junior Rachel Travis scored a game-high 21 points, and hit four three-pointers, to lead Mount Si in defeat.

"I know for a fact that I had a terrible game versus Skyline. I knew that we all needed to pick up our effort ... down by 14 at halftime and we picked it up. Everybody did. It's just the way we are," Travis said.

Senior Karin Brevick added 10 to pace the Wildcats.

"I think that our trouble has been that we haven't been coming out strong and we definitely came out strong and got a big lead ... not a big lead, but a big enough lead to withhold their intensity in the second half," said Bellevue coach Rebecca Valdivia.

The Wildcats' coach, Dirk Hansen, was pleased with his team's effort.

"My girls played hard tonight. We are happy with the effort, and we gave it our very best. We had many opportunities tonight to pull ahead and take this thing and the opportunities were there and for whatever reason we weren't able to capitalize on them. I was really happy with the energy of our girls tonight. We played with a lot of heart, and it was a fun game."

Travis' four three-pointers were the only Mount Si hit all night, and that proved to be huge as four other Wildcats (Landa Pastrana, Whitney Beyerlin, Nicole Remish, and Kaycee Crossan) went a combined 0-15 from behind the arc, and Travis in total went 4-9 from outside.

Mount Si won handily against Cedarcrest last week in a makeup game 79-31, as the Wildcats got a 20-point effort from Beyerlin, but the wheels came off in the second half last Wednesday against Skyline, as the Spartans scored 23 unanswered points to take a 52-37 home win over Mount Si.

With the loss to Skyline, and this loss to Bellevue, the Wildcats in the last two regular seasons are 1-6 now against the Spartans, Wolverines, and Issaquah Eagles. Hansen believes it's a combination of factors.

"For whatever reason, I can't figure out a way to beat Bellevue [or] Issaquah. We've beaten Skyline before.., but Issaquah and Bellevue are both very good, solid programs, and I know that we've always given our very best effort versus both those teams, and for whatever reason whether it be coaching, or just the breaks and the way they are, we haven't been able to come out on top so we look forward to playing teams like that," Hansen said.

To reach the next level, this team needs to improve in one critical area, according to their coach.

"Our inside game needs to improve. That's been a problem for us all year. Our inside players are not producing as much as we need them to, and so once we get a little bit better balance between our inside and our outside game we're going to be a better basketball team, and so that's something we've been addressing all year and we just need to continue to develop our inside players. We're having a hard time catching the ball and finishing around the basket and it's costing us," Hansen said.

Mount Si plays at home Friday against Sammamish. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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