Mount Si girls' season ends

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BELLEVUE - Mount Si High School last played Seattle Prep in a girls team sport in 2003. On that day in October, the Wildcat volleyball team held their own against the Panthers early on, only to see Prep seize control, beat Mount Si and clinch a state berth.

Last Tuesday's first-round SeaKing District girls basketball game between the two schools played out pretty much the same way. As a result, the hopes and dreams of a team that had been raised thanks to a strong Kingco Tournament performance were dashed.

Strong interior play by Panthers Chelsey Nill, Camille Floyd, Allie Urban, along with a stellar performance by Rachel Snyder, helped Prep break open the game in the third quarter after being tied 27-27 at halftime with the Wildcats. Despite one last Mount Si rally late in the fourth quarter, Seattle Prep held on for a 69-59 win over the Wildcats that sent the Panthers into the double-elimination portion of the district tournament. Mount Si's season ended with a record of 15-9.

The day did not go well for the conference as a whole. All three Kingco boys teams who played Tuesday lost, as did the Liberty girls. Only Bellevue's girls won, but that was without their star senior Gretchen Buchberger and only after they had blown a huge lead in their game with Bainbridge.

Snyder scored 29 points. Prep coach Michelle Hall called it a "quiet 29" and then praised her senior.

"[She played] excellent. She rebounded well. She played great defense and she came to play," Hall said.

As for the losing side, Mount Si coach Dirk Hansen attributed it to the interior game and ball handling.

"We didn't finish around the basket and I think it would have been a little bit different game if we could have taken a little bit better care of the ball in the backcourt and midcourt, but we had our opportunities to finish shots and they just, for whatever reason, didn't go down," he said.

Nicole Remish scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats and Rachel Travis played her final game as a Mount Si player scoring 13 points, but the end of her career is one that she'd probably like to forget. Travis left with 1:37 in the game after suffering an apparent mouth injury. The injury occurred as the result of a hard foul by the Panthers' Jasmine Williams, who was assessed a technical foul for her actions. Travis was on the floor for several minutes being attended to by trainers before leaving under her own power.

With the season now over, junior Tori Ewing looked back on what was her first season playing high-school ball in Washington State after transferring from Elk Grove, Calif. There were many differences she saw between her experience this season here versus the one she had in Elk Grove.

"The fans, the love of the game. The coaches, I mean, Coach [Hansen] is like a dad to us. I mean, he was there to teach us, he never got too mad at us. This team is more coachable than my last team [in Elk Grove], and I mean, we had so many stars on this team. You never knew who had the hot hands," Ewing said.

She also praised her senior teammates for one important attribute.

"Leadership. It's hard to get back that leadership we had from our seniors," Ewing added.

Hansen had words of praise for the community.

"This community really did a great job supporting our girls this season and we really appreciate that. I really think the Mount Si girls represented the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding areas very well this year and I'm proud of my girls," Hansen said.

As for next year, lots of questions loom.

"We're going to have kind of a whole new team next year. We've got a lot of new faces coming in, and we're looking for our JV players to develop over the summer and improve their skills, and we look to be competitive again next year," Hansen said.

Leading the returning cast will be Remish and Ewing, both seniors next year. The Eddings sisters, Tara and Chelsie, also seniors in 2005-06, will also be looked to for major contributions. Many other Kingco teams, such as Issaquah, Liberty and Bellevue, are losing key seniors, so the conference appears to be wide open for the taking. Ewing said fans can expect good basketball from the ladies next season.

"[There will be] Even more craziness and energy," she said.

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