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'Cats win number two
Mount Si guaranteed themselves a place in the final state 3A
basketball championship standings on Friday with a dominating 9-point win
over Ellensburg in the Mercer Arena.
The 51-42 victory win earned the Wildcats the opportunity to play
again Saturday morning in the consolation bracket against the Rams from
North Thurston High School. The winner will be crowned as the fifth-place
finisher in the statewide tournament, while the loser was guaranteed
an eighth-place trophy.
Junior Isaiah Cormier scored 18 points on a 5-for-8 shooting day
from the field. The 6-1 guard was also 8-for-10 from the free-throw stripe as
the Wildcats improved their overall season record to 18-11.
Senior Jason Arriagaplaying in what could have been the last game
of his high school careeradded 12 points, eight rebounds and three
assists. Arriaga scored 30 points in Thursday's quarterfinal win
over Franklin Pierce.
The Wildcats followed an old familiar pattern by falling behind
early against Ellensburg, trailing after the first quarter 10-6 to the
But Mount Si rallied behind Cormier in a decisive second
quarter as the Wildcats took control of the boards and went into the locker
room with a slim 22-21 advantage at half- time. The advantage came in the
form of a three-point bomb by junior Sean Fallows with 1:06 left in the
second quarter. Fallows began the 1999-00 season on the Wildcat junior
Ellensburg kept the score close and tied the game at the end of three
quarters at 32 each.
Facing elimination, Mount Si took control in the paint and won the
game going away by outscoring the Bulldogs 19-10 in the final eight
minutes of play. Mount Si took the lead for good at 33-32 on a free throw
"We play much better with our backs against the wall," said
senior forward Chris Kaplan, who finished with 10 points against
Ellensburg. "We've surprised a lot of people
who thought we were a joke."
Trailing in the late moments of the contest, Ellensburg began to
gamble on defense. The Wildcats made them pay when Kaplan scored on a
two-handed dunk, Arriaga sank a baseline jumper and Cormier added
insult-to-injury with a tip-in for the final margin of victory.
North Thurston won a spot in Saturday's consolation final with
an exciting 52-50 overtime win over Blanchet Friday afternoon.
Senior Levi Markowski scored a game-high 21 points, including a lay-in at
the buzzer as the Rams eliminated the Braves.