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Wildcat girls defeat Metro team
The Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team made some history last Thursday, and as a result are now indirectly at the center of a major storm facing Washington state high school basketball.
Nicole Remish scored a game-high 20 points as the Wildcats survived the best efforts of the Metro League's Ingraham Rams from Seattle, and advanced to the semifinals of the SeaKing District Tournament with a 55-47 win at Bellevue Community College.
"It's districts and every team that's in this tournament are good basketball teams,"said Mount Si coach Dirk Hansen. "Ingraham's a well-coached team, and they've got good size. We had a really hard time getting rebounds tonight."
It was a tough start to the contest as the Rams got out of the gate in the first quarter with an early lead. The Wildcats, though, quickly answered as Madison Yakaboski hit a three-pointer with 4:24 left in the first frame, sparking the offense. From that point on, Mount Si maintained the lead, getting it up to as high as a dozen points in the third quarter. Yakaboski finished with 12 points.
The Rams made a huge comeback in the fourth quarter, getting to within one point of tying the game with about five minutes left in the contest before Yakaboski made a huge block on an Ingraham shot attempt. On the resulting Wildcat possession, Caitie Richards hit a big three-pointer that set off a offensive burst, which saw Remish and then Richards again each hit key three-pointers and Mount Si was up 10 points, 50-40, with about three minutes left.
For sophomore Symone Shaw, whose interior play was stellar yet again, the first time competing at districts was a bit tough. "It's kind of nerve-wracking. You get butterflies and stuff," Shaw said.
Shaw was not the only one who became very nervous, either. The Rams came right back and mounted another comeback, making everyone in the Mount Si stands anxious, as well. Ingraham got to within three at 50-47 with under a minute left, then Remish and Yakaboski each hit key free throws down the stretch and that, combined with one last Rams turnover with 29 seconds left, sealed the contest.
The win was historic. "This is the first district win we've gotten in this program in a long time," said Hansen. It was the first Wildcat girls' basketball district tournament win in eight years, and it put Mount Si one step closer to state.
However, a major test awaits. Scheduled to play the Wildcats Tuesday was Chief Sealth in a winner-to-state contest. The Ladyhawks, the No. 1 team in the state at 23-0 after a tight win over Holy Names in the other district girls' game last Thursday, are in the middle of a huge controversy stemming from allegations made in a recent newspaper story about illegal recruiting of players by the team's coaches. Regardless of the outcome of the Tuesday game, Mount Si will have additional action this week, on Thursday in a winner-to- state/loser-out game, and/or Saturday.