Bruins outlast Wildcats

The Cascade Bruins needed every bit of their 20-point third-quarter lead to withstand a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Mount Si Wildcats girls' basketball team last Saturday at Mount Si. Despite the Wildcats' efforts the 4A Wesco Conference challenger pulled out a 58-51 win in the nonleague game.

Wildcat sophomore guard Whitney Beyerlin's four three-pointers led the fourth-quarter comeback. She finished with a game-high 19 points to lead Mount Si. Junior post Karin Brevick added 10 in the losing cause for the Wildcats while junior forward Kristi Auckland scored 18 to lead the Bruins, and senior guard Andrea Jones added 11 to pace Cascade.

The Wildcats, coming off a loss last Friday at Puyallup, had trouble getting things going early but the team's scrappiness never waned, especially in the second half, which pleased coach Dirk Hansen.

"Our girls never gave up. I'm happy about that. We had tired legs tonight just like Cascade did. I was really happy in the fight in our girls in the second half, they have no give-up in them. As long as we fight to the very end and we have a chance to win the game in the end we're happy about that, you know, and we had a chance to win this game at the end, and we were excited about that and it just goes to show the character of our team," said Hansen.

Brevick opened the game with two convincing blocks and it looked as if Mount Si would be ready to play. However, Cascade senior forward Brittany Bekins opened the scoring with a bucket with 6:45 left. It would take another three-plus minutes before Brevick scored to put Mount Si on the board. After that bucket Cascade went on a 10-2 run to finish the quarter and the Bruins were up 14-4 at the end of one. The Wildcats came back, behind Beyerlin and senior post Nicci Landdeck's strong efforts, and made it a close game. Mount Si shaved the deficit to three at one point, but Jones led an offensive burst by the Bruins, which propelled them into halftime up six, 25-19.

Auckland and senior post Alyssa Smoke's strong efforts sparked Cascade to open the second half with a 10-0 run. It would take four minutes before Mount Si could get on the board. The Bruins had their way with the Wildcats in the third, outscoring Mount Si 16-2 in the quarter before Brevick hit a pair of shots, but by then the Bruins were in cruise control, up 41-25. The fourth quarter came and it was a completely different story.

Brevick opened it with a pair of free throws, then junior forward Rachael Perrell hit a three-pointer and Mount Si was on its way. However, the rally wasn't in full swing until Beyerlin hit a three-pointer, then on the next Wildcat possession, with 3:56 left, Mount Si was awarded a five-point play after Beyerlin hit another three-pointer. Following the shot, junior post Christie Leatiota hit two free throws after being fouled by Smoke who fouled out. Following that, the Wildcats got going as Beyerlin, and sophomore guard Rachel Travis, both hit big three-pointers for a total of three between the two of them. The Wildcats cut their deficit down to four points late, but Cascade went 6-7 from the foul line down the stretch and that was enough for the Bruins.

The Wildcats go into the new year with a 5-3 mark.

"We're just staring the second half of our season in the face, and we are looking to make the big push. What we're talking about now ... our season starts over with Franklin Pierce on the [Jan.] 3rd, and we're looking to go 1-0 on the 3rd, then we've got Cedarcrest and a lot more big games down the road," said Hansen, who added that the nonleague schedule for the Wildcats was tough. "There's some really, really good teams out there, and you know, our nonleague schedule has not been easy. You know, we could have scheduled whoever we want[ed]. We could have scheduled teams easier that we could have won, but we didn't do that. We scheduled 4A teams - Puyallup, Eastlake, Bothell, we played some tough 4A teams this year."

After being told his team went 3-2 against its slate of 4A opposition, Hansen offered some encouraging words for Mount Si basketball fans.

"Our girls have a goal of just getting a little bit better every single game, and then we hope to be peaking by the end of the season," he said.

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