Mount Si out-muscles Mercer Island

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The Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team used a strong physical effort to take care of the Mercer Island Islanders 51-40 last week at Mount Si High School in the school's KingCo 3A home opener.

Mount Si broke out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, as the Wildcats used a number of second-chance scoring opportunities to put Mercer Island away.

The second-chance opportunities for the Wildcats came, as junior forward Kristen Travis said, "by good rebounding, good hustle on defense." She added, "We learn to go after our shots, and it gets us second chances."

Freshman guard/forward Rachel Travis scored 12 points to lead the Wildcats' attack, again a very balanced one. Nicci Landdeck scored nine points, and Lizzie Finnegan and Kristen Berndt each added eight to pace the Wildcats, who moved to 2-0 in KingCo with the victory.

The Islanders were led by a game-high 20 points from junior guard Beth Richards, but Mercer Island, despite staying close most of the game, could not get a sustained run going until late in the fourth quarter after Islander Coach Blair Rasmussen gave his team a strong lecture during a timeout. Even so, the run came too late as Travis and Berndt went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line late in the fourth to seal the victory.

Landdeck is pleased about the team's start.

"Oh, yeah, the girls have come a long way for this, and we totally deserve this. We work so hard in practice and everything, and I think we are really coming along as a team and we're turning a lot of heads. Even though we're not that big, we're still a lot scrappier than the other teams," Landdeck said.

To illustrate the point about the team being scrappy, Landdeck had a huge cut on her knee to show for her efforts.

Mount Si Coach Dirk Hansen, however, is not taking this start for granted. The Wildcats' next opponent, Skyline, he said, is a "tough cookie without a doubt. They're undefeated, and we're looking forward to playing them.

"They pretty much handled us the last few years, and I just want a good effort out of my girls. Win or lose, I want my girls to play hard every night. As long as we do that, we'll feel good about ourselves."

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