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Wildcats continue KingCo prowl
Last week the Mount Si Wildcats continued their so-far successful
foray through the 1999-2000 boys basketball season, defeating one
non-league opponent while also disposing of the Liberty Patriots and Bellevue
Last Monday night's contest with Liberty was another bell ringer,
with the Wildcats delivering a 98-55 stuffing of the Pats. Mount Si's
players went early and often to the charity line, turning in a remarkable 24-29 or
83 percent on free throws in the second half alone. Junior starter
Isaiah Cormier did much of the damage, rolling a seven for seven on penalty
points in the third quarter.
The game was already out of reach for the visitors by halftime, with
the hometown `Cats up 43-27. Mount Si would go on to outpoint the
Patriots 31-12 in the third quarter and 24 to 16 in the fourth, enroute to their
43-point margin of victory.
Cormier turned in the most buckets during the evening's
festivities, scoring 22 points. Senior forward Chris Kaplan followed with 19,
and freshman Logan Ratcliffe turned in 10.
The following Thursday night, Dec. 16, the Mount Si
hoopsters hosted the 1-0 Wolverines of Bellevue. Unlike the previous event's
blowout, this one proved to be a tight, fast-paced game with the Wildcats finally
pulling away for the 68-53 victory.
Starting seniors Jason Arriaga and Kaplan led the charge, turning in
21 and 18 points respectively, while Cormier dumped in 10. Dan Dicks
- Bellevue's leading scorer, all-state football star and a big,
intimidating presence on the court under normal circumstances _ was slowed up by
an ankle injury suffered during last week's game with Mercer Island
and only notched four points.
The first half was the hot one; Mount Si pulled out to an early
lead and never relinquished it, relying on strong rebounding to keep the
Wolverines in check. At one point junior Mike Helgeland scored on a nice short
pop to the basket. After Bellevue responded with their own layup,
Mike Dahm telegraphed a beautiful three-pointer that brought a roar from
the crowd. The noise level quickly ratcheted up after Mount Si took
the ball away and Arriaga scored his own long-distance shot, putting his team
up 30-21 with just under two minutes left. The half ended following yet
another Wildcat three-point shot, which bounced vertically twice before
sinking through the basket.
Both teams started the second half a tad cold, missing shots. The
Wolverines took the third in points, outscoring Mount Si 18-12, but when the
buzzer sounded the `Cats still had a 47-41 lead. Both sides traded shots
throughout the fourth while their coaches exhorted them on, occasionally
arguing with the refs. After one call Bellevue coach Jeremy Eggers drew a
technical when he stormed onto the court to argue with a referee. While an
assistant restrained Eggers, Arriaga sank one of his two free throws, putting
the Wildcats up 68-51 with less than a minute remaining.
That was it for the home team's scoring. Coach Garrick Phillips put
in the reserves, installing Logan Ratcliffe, Dan Flood and Sean
Fallows in place of some of his starters. The fans were stompin', the joint
was rockin', and the hometown crowd was yelling "6 and 0! 6 and 0!" as
Mount Si sealed its third league victory.
"It was a little bit tighter than the last couple of games," said the
coach afterwards. "I want to give a huge complement to Bellevue. They
really came out and attacked. I think they were outmanned in a couple of
positions, but they put up a real effort."
"It feels good," Arriaga commented. "They tried to make it into
a scrappy game, tried to get us out of our offense. I have to give them
credit, but we accomplished our goal."
"They're pretty tough," added Cormier. "They took us off our
offense a bit."
The romp continued Saturday evening, with a 79-58 non-league
win over Mount Rainier down in Des Moines. Once again, the team
relied on an outstanding free throw percentage of 90 percent and the accuracy
of Kaplan (22 points) and Arriaga (18) to shear the Rams.
The Wildcats finished the week at 7-0, 3-0 in the conference and
ranked fifth in state 3A. More importantly, they were alone atop the Valley
Division, which _ according to Coach Phillips _ was exactly where
they wanted to be. Cormier and his teammates, however, know there's still
a long road ahead.
"It feels great to be at the top, but it's just the beginning," the
junior phenom stated. "We have a lot to survive yet."
In the interim, the Wildcats staff and players can concentrate on
some of the finer aspects of the holidays such as a trip to Southern
California for the San Diego Surf and Slam Tournament.
Leave the cold, cloudy, wet _ and probably snowy - Snoqualmie
Valley for Mission Bay, Sea World, MexPac and the San Diego Zoo? Such are
the sacrifices of high school basketball.