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Lady 'Cats depart playoffs quietly
After an exciting finish to the regular season, the Mount Si Lady
Wildcats met Sammamish yet again Tuesday night, Feb. 8, to determine the
second and third seeds for the KingCo 3A league series.
Unfortunately, the league's Cinderella team lost their
collective glass slippers, dropping a tough one to the Totems by a score of 51-41.
The following night the glass shattered. A swarming Skyline squad
absolutely overpowered the exhausted ladies from Mount Si, 52-26, ending
Mount Si's brief playoff run.
Coach Dirk Hansen had warned his team's inability to consistently
sink the 15-foot jump shot would hurt them, and it was apparent both
evenings. The ladies had trouble taking it to the rim and were forced to fire
long distance shots that rarely connected. More often than not, a Totem or
a Spartan was there to take the rebound.
In the early game the Wildcats spotted Sammamish a 14-7 first
quarter lead and spent the remainder of the contest playing catch-up. The
ladies managed to stay within striking distance through the third period but
then fatigue set in and Sammamish was able to run away.
Senior Jessii Raisio's basket with seven ticks left on the clock
gave Mount Si the last of its 41 points, but that was it for the evening. Raisio
recorded 11 points total for the game while "The Diesel," Moriah Hover,
led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The loss to Sammamish denied the Lady `Cats second place in the
division and a guaranteed ticket to the district championship series. Instead,
the tired team regrouped and played Skyline Wednesday night for the right
to remain in playoffs.
Both sides started off by trading shots, then Skyline pulled out to
a quick 6-0 lead while Coach Hansen hollered "We're getting beat on
the boards!" from the bench. Skyline quickly and effectively went into
a press and proceeded to dominate the game.
How effective was the Spartan defense? They ran off with 32
turnovers during the evening while holding the Lady `Cats to an 8 percent
shooting average through the fourth quarter.
The Spartans outscored the `Cats 18-5 in the first and ran up a
26-7 margin by the half, working the corners and connecting on their
shots while stifling the ladies from the Valley. Finally, with three minutes to
go in the half, Hansen pulled starters Raisio, Hover, Lindsay Ratcliffe
and Nicci Landdeck to give them a rest and put in Cari Smith, Danielle
Teller, Maria Lynch and Jessica Hanna along with Angela Jones.
The starters returned for the second half but the Skyline squad
continued to make like the Blue Angels, flying all over the court, grabbing
the ball and soaring for the basket. Skyline hit the 50-point mark with
just over two minutes left in the game; Hover responded with a pair of
three-pointers that put her team over 20. Jones concluded the scoring for
the `Cats by sinking a deuce with just 2.7 seconds left on the clock.
Adding insult to injury, Ratcliffe departed the game with a
sprained ankle with 1:31 remaining.
"I don't know what to say," she said afterwards. "This was a hard
way to go out."
"We're not a good shooting team," Hansen summarized. "We can't
afford to have the number of turnovers we had tonight. I was really surprised
we didn't do a better job of breaking their press. We practiced against it all
week, but the girls were rattled and tired.
"We'll be better next year," he added. "In three years we'll have
Hanna, a member of Mount Si's strong freshman class, later
expressed regret for the two graduating seniors, Raisio and Ratcliffe.
"They're feeling down, but they did a good job. I'll miss them. We
had the heart but it was a bad way to end the season.
"However, we are going to state next year."