Sports

Lady 'Cats drop three close ones

The practice and "warm-up" games are over and league play

has begun, and the Mount Si Lady Wildcats _ as expected _ are now

looking up at a mountain.

Perhaps "mountain range" would be more descriptive for a

two-week period that features games with Ellensburg, Sammamish,

Liberty, Bellevue, Enumclaw and Garfield. Still, the Lady `Cats persevere,

knowing full well that the knocks they sustain now should help deliver a

tight, well-knit team for the second half of the season.

On Saturday night, Dec. 4, Mount Si hosted the squad from Federal

Way and fell by a score of 49-35. The following Tuesday they again came

out on the short end, dropping a tough one to Ellensburg 53-43. Then came

last Friday night's KingCo 3A opener against Sammamish, which saw

the Totems prevail by a score of 47-41.

In the first contest with the Pirates of Federal Way, junior Moriah

Hover led the scoring with 13 points, followed by Jessii Raisio's 8.

Frosh starter Nicci Landdeck did her part, pulling in a team-leading 10

rebounds. Three nights later Landdeck delivered the offensive damage

against Ellensburg, recording 10 points. Teammate Raisio scored nine,

Hover and Lindsay Ratcliffe recorded eight each, and sophomore forward

Danielle "Danny" Teller notched seven.

Afterwards Coach Hansen rated his team's performance against

the Bulldogs as "solid," adding it was

his team's best effort so far this year.

"It was a great game played in front of a packed house," said

Hansen. "We played them within two points all night long, and I think we caught

them by surprise. After pounding us in the summer league, I think they

underestimated our hustle.

The lead changed hands six times during the game before Ellensburg

finally put it away. "It came down to some fouls at the end," Hansen

added. ""They made their free-throws and

we missed ours."

The hardwood `Cats played it tough again Friday night

at Sammamish, but this time they saw an early 16-6 lead evaporate. The

two squads fought back and forth until the fourth quarter when, with five

minutes left in the game, the Totems finally pulled away.

Landdeck was again the leading scorer for the Wildcats, dumping in

a total of 13 points. In trail were Raisio and Hover, with 11 each, and

Ratcliffe with six. Hover also dominated in rebounds, taking 14 off the boards.

"We should've beat Sammamish," Hansen said Monday. "That's

one thing you have to really focus on when you're coaching a young team,

they've got to be ready to finish a game. We were ahead and weren't able to

finish."

The coach said he'd take the blame due to his substitution policy,

which he rated as "poor." "The last three

or four minutes we didn't have any legs, and my girls are in great shape."

Unfortunately, the rocky schedule isn't due to improve any time

soon. Last Monday night the Lady `Cats traveled to Issaquah to face off

with 3-1 Liberty, who opened their conference chase with a 59-39 thumping

of Mercer Island. This Friday night's opponent, Bellevue, was also

victorious opening night, taking down Issaquah 51-43.

It could get worse; next week the Wildcats take on two 4A

teams, Enumclaw and Garfield, on consecutive nights.

"Liberty is probably the best team in the KingCo," Coach Hansen

commented. "I think they are as good as Bellevue and as good as

Issaquah. Bellevue is the number one team in the state, and I'm wondering how

my girls are going to react.

"This is definitely going to be one tough week for us. We definitely

need to keep our spirits, get what we can get, and have got to keep things in

perspective. Coach Appelgate and I have our work cut out for us.

"But, we're going to have a strong finish," he concluded. "I

guarantee that."

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