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Lady 'Cats are down but not out
Just as Valley nights are turning cold and snowy, the season's
growing long for the Mount Si Lady Wildcats. Coming off a gut-wrenching loss
to Cedarcrest, the `Cats managed to make the trek down icy I-90
last Wednesday evening to Mercer Island. Unfortunately, the 2-3 Islanders had
a warm reception in mind for the Mount Si squad, triumphing 59-40.
Fortunately, the malaise and any morale problems came to a
crashing conclusion last Friday night. While the Lady `Cats dropped their end of
week game to Newport 53-51, they were in it to the end. The change in the
team's confidence and ability to play together _ as a
team _ was remarkable.
Mercer Island opened their Tuesday night contest with a 20-5 romp
in the first period. The Lady `Cats responded with 20 points of their
own in the second, to the Islanders' 14, but Mercer Island put the kibosh on
any comeback in the second half, outscoring the visitors 25-15.
Senior Jessii Raisio led the Mount Si scorers with 12 points, followed
by Moriah Hover's nine and Nicci Landdeck's seven. The
normally strong Lindsay Ratcliffe only scored two for the night. More tellingly,
the team coughed up the ball a total of 32 times during the game.
The loss put the Wildcats at 1-5 in league play and tied for last place
in the Valley Division with Interlake.
Friday night the `Cats returned to the familiar surroundings of the
Mount Si gym and attempted to rebound against 2-4 Newport, who were
coming off a 41-40 loss to Cedarcrest. This one turned out to be a barn burner,
with the rejuvenated `Cats fighting and clawing throughout the entire
contest while proving they still knew the fundamentals of Dr. Naismith's game.
While the Knights took the tip and scored first, the Mount Si
players seemed loose and confident. Newport outscored them 19-11 in the first
quarter and 18-15 in the second, but the Lady `Cats kept picking
themselves up, worked the hoops and went for the rebounds. Both sides made like
mad bombers during the fast-paced first half, trading baskets at opposite
ends of the court.
After halftime _ which saw a spectacular demonstration by the
Panther Pride unicycle team _ Mount Si came alive, stuffing the Knights by 12-4
in the third quarter. At one point senior sparkplug Raisio made a
driving/falling/up over her right shoulder basket that brought the crowd to its feet
with a roar. Elsewhere on the court the team continued to tough it out, with
some tussles for the ball ending in scrums.
The physicality of the game contributed to a technical call on the
Newport coaches halfway through the fourth, after Ratcliffe caught a
foul. She responded by sinking her two penalty shots and the two
technical throws, putting Mount Si at 42-47. A couple of minutes later Hover
moved her team within one point, 47-48, off a patented Raisio to Hover pass on
the inside. Ratcliffe then took it to the rim, putting the `Cats up 49-48 with
just over a minute-forty remaining.
Unfortunately, the team's effort lurched to a stop in the final
seconds. Newport's Jaylene Powaukee notched the last three of her 19 points for
the night and a teammate sank a subsequent throw from the charity line,
putting the visiting Knights up 52-49 with just seconds left. Raisio's final
basket came as time ran out.
She finished with 15, while fellow senior Ratcliffe led the squad with
19, shooting 7-for-9 from the line. Hover rolled a 13 for the game and hauled
in 10 rebounds.
Despite losing, the team was ebullient afterwards. According to
Coach Hansen, the Mount Si women had definitely just turned a corner.
"We felt good out there tonight," said the coach after the game.
"My seniors stepped up and when they step up, we can beat anyone. I'm
especially proud of my freshmen girls.
"I just told the girls that if we play like that the rest of the season
we'll do fine. They played their hearts out."
Freshman starters Landdeck and Angela "Basketball" Jones
concurred with their coach and added it had been a surprisingly physical game.
"I'm kind of used to it," commented Landdeck. "I play with
my dad at home.
"We play really well together," she said of her older teammates. "It's
a step up from middle school, but we're expected to pitch right in."
"It's really great," said Jones.
"The coaches and players have really welcomed us to the team. It's true
The Lady Wildcats resumed their "endless road trip" this week,
facing 4-2/8-4 Issaquah on Wednesday night. They'll travel to Valley
Division-leading Liberty this Friday night.