Wildcats play as a team, win as a team

The Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team faced its biggest test of the season last Tuesday night in their first-round SeaKing District Tournament game at Ingraham High School. No, it wasn't their opponent, the Bainbridge Spartans and their sophomore phenom Brittany Gray; instead, it was whether the Wildcats could fight through adversity and win without their own star, Madison Yakaboski. And Mount Si passed that test with flying colors.

The Wildcats won a heart-stopping 54-51 victory in a game that was not decided until the final whistle. "I was proud of the way we responded when Madison went off the floor because she's the one that gets things going for us. I'm happy that we won the game, but on the other hand, I'm disappointed that the top Kingco player is now injured and she can't even walk on it, so that doesn't bode well for our next opponent, or any opponent for that matter," Mount Si coach Dirk Hansen said.

The Wildcats, with Yakaboski on the floor, controlled the play for much of the contest, using a very tough defense. Mount Si used that defense to take a 29-25 lead to halftime and the lead grew to 36-25 after the Wildcats went on a quick 7-0 run to start the second half.

Things were moving along nicely when it all changed with 1:43 left in the third. Yakaboski was attempting to rebound the ball off a blocked shot when she fell to the floor after apparently colliding with a Spartans player and was injured. The injury ruined a great night for Yakaboski; she had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds before leaving the game. Symone Shaw also posted 10 rebounds to help the effort.

Yakaboski was on the ground for several minutes, had to be helped off the floor and did not return. The Valley Record learned last Thursday that she had torn both her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the meniscus in her knee. Yakaboski may be out for up to a year, meaning she could miss much, if not all, of next season, too.

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