Wildcats win first, loser out game

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The Wildcats preserved their season for one more day in the state

3A basketball playoffs with an impressive 62-49 win over Franklin Pierce

on Thursday afternoon. The loss dropped the Cardinals out of the

tournament, while the win allowed Mount Si to play on.

The state tournament is a double-elimination affair, so Thursday's

clash was a do-or-die situation for both teams.

Six foot-four inch senior forward Jason Arriaga led the Wildcats with

a season-high 30 points as Mount Si followed a familiar pattern. Only

this time the results were better.

On Wednesday night the Wildcats waltzed through the first half

and found themselves trailing the Lynden Lions by double-figures at

halftime. In the second half the team found its groove and staged a

tremendous comeback, only to fall short in the closing minutes of the game.

One night later Mount Si played Franklin Pierce even over the first

two quarters. The Wildcats went into the locker room at intermission tied at

29. But without a deficit to dig out of in the second half, the `Cats took

control of the game at the start of the third quarter.

Mount Si outscored the Cardinals 19-0 in the decisive third quarter

and dominated play in the paint at both ends of the court. The Wildcats

built enough of an advantage in the third quarter that they were able to

withstand a late Franklin Pierce rally in the final eight minutes to win the

game going away.

The victory earned Mount Si the right to play Ellensburg at noon

on Friday. The Bulldogs (20-10) from Ellensburg rallied to eliminate

Columbia River on Thursday, 48-40, to advance in the consolation bracket of

the state tournament.

The winner of Friday's clash had the opportunity to play for a final

fifth- place finish in the state tournament Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The

winner of Friday's consolation semi-final game between Mount Si

and Ellensburg faced the winner of the contest between Blanchet and

North Thurston.

Besides the 30 points from Arriaga on Thursday, the Wildcats had

contributions from the brother tandem of Mike and Marc Dahm, who

combined for 13 points. Junior guard Isaiah Cormier chipped in with nine and

senior forward Chris Kaplan finished the afternoon rout with six points.

The Lynden Lions held a lead over top-ranked Rainier Beach late

into their winners' bracket contest before dropping an emotional decision to

the Vikings, 57-50. Rainier Beach did not have a lead until Tim Ellis'

putback with 5:28 left in the game put them on top for good.

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