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Wildcats win first, loser out game
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
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.