Lady 'Cats move into playoff contention

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Earlier this season Mount Si basketball coach Dirk Hansen said

his team would be much better in the second half of this year's KingCo

3A campaign. However, the prediction he made last week was still rather

startling, particularly when you consider the Lady 'Cats were coming off

two tough losses and were sporting a 1-8 league record.

"We're going to the playoffs," Hansen announced last

Tuesday morning. "I guarantee it. We have three of our last four games at

home and we're going to do it."

With only four games left in the season, it was a tall order, but the

ladies took the first step last Wednesday night, knocking off Skyline in

a raucous and thrilling overtime game, 38-32.

Both teams initially played a careful, methodical game, which

resulted in a Mount Si halftime lead of only 12-10. The 'Cats and the

Spartans spent most of the first half snapping the ball around, looking for an

opening and then piling up under the boards for the rebounds.

At the two-minute mark of the third, Skyline pulled ahead making

a basket of a muffed Mount Si pass. They held the lead into the fourth

quarter, always staying two or three points ahead of the Lady 'Cats.

Junior Moriah Hover tied the game 24-24 with just under five minutes

to go, and then tied it again at 26-26 two minutes later. Freshman starter

Nicci Landdeck then put the home team ahead, overcoming a swarm of

Spartans to sink the basket. Skyline came back to tie the game at 28-28 with

1:07 left in regulation; Lindsay Ratcliffe's shot at the 50-second mark

missed, sending the squads into overtime.

Hansen watched as his Wildcats allowed Skyline's players to

initially dominate the boards. Then "Mighty Mo" Hover stepped up, draining a

trey with 36-seconds left to give the 'Cats a 34-30 lead. The Spartans

responded 12 seconds later, but Landdeck scored off a rebound. Hover then stole the

ball and put it away as the final buzzer sounded, giving Mount Si the

unbelievable 38-32 win.

Hover finished the evening's work with 22 points and 13

rebounds, while Ratcliffe contributed 13.

"I told you so," was all the exultant coach had to say afterwards, but

a few of his players were more expressive.

"I feel great," senior Jessii Raisio said happily after the celebration

died down. "I think we're picking it up at the right point in the season, and

we're going to win these games."

"I think we can make it, if we play as hard as we did tonight,"

added Ratcliffe.

"The team is coming together very well," said sophomore

forward Danielle Teller. "I think we can make it. It would be a good experience

for the freshmen."

The "fun" quotient notched up a few more levels Friday night. In

another wild one that had the Mount Si believers on the edge of their seats,

the ladies eked out a 42-41 win over Interlake.

The Lady 'Cats took the early lead in the game, finishing the first

quarter with a 7-4 margin. However, the Saints outscored the home squad 18-8 in

the second frame and continued to pile it on in the third.

With their team down by 11 points and time ticking away in the

third quarter, the Wildcats finally gelled and started firing back. Raisio turned in

a masterful performance with 10 points and six rebounds. Hover

and Landdeck contributed nine each, while Ratcliffe and Teller dumped in

seven and six respectively.

With two games left on the schedule, the Lady Wildcats are 3-8

and solidly in fourth place behind 3-7 Cedarcrest in the Valley Division.

With a win over the Red Wolves Wednesday night, the ladies could find

themselves in third place by Friday's season-ending contest with Sammamish.

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