Girls headed to tournament

BELLEVUE - It was a tale of two halves for the Mount Si Wildcat girls' basketball team last Wednesday at Bellevue. In the first half, things started out quite well for the Wildcats as the team looked very competitive despite going into halftime down eight points, 33-25, to the host Wolverines. However, the second half was a much different story.

Mount Si's offense fell asleep in the last two quarters, scoring just 10 points in the entire half - and just two in the fourth quarter - as Bellevue celebrated its "Senior Night" with a comfortable 60-35 pasting of the Wildcats that sent Mount Si to the Kingco Tournament as a No. 4 seed. The seeding will give the Wildcats a late Tuesday opener against the No. 5 seed, Liberty.

One of the five seniors Bellevue honored, Gretchen Buchberger, scored a game-high 21 points despite being shut down in the fourth quarter,

"Gretchen knows how to score with ease. She's been our leader offensively on the court all season long and last year as well, and she's [been] a wonderful asset to the program," said Bellevue coach Rebecca Valdivia.

Buchberger was pleased with her team's effort.

"We came out hard," she said. "You know, in the game our defense wasn't the best, so we picked it up. [It being] Senior Night, we wanted to go out strong and our shots were hitting tonight so just a good game all around."

Buchberger was honored prior to the contest along with fellow Wolverines Amanda Linger, Catherine Quehrn, Stacy Sheriff and Jamie Webber. In a class gesture, Bellevue also honored the efforts of Wildcat seniors Rachel Travis, Whitney Beyerlin, Amy Brevick, Marie Will, Kaycee Crossan and Shannon Posey.

These Wolverine seniors meant a lot to Valdivia.

"They've been leaders," Valdivia said. "They've all known each other for a real long time and they're really good friends on and off the court, so it's helped build that team unity that we've needed. Defensively it helped us tonight because they've been working since sixth-grade playing together, and having that core unit out there they knew where everybody was going to be defensively and offensively, so it's good to have them out there."

As for the Wildcats, the little things mattered in this one, whether it was missed offensive layins or blown defensive containments, which both occurred in the game.

"A lot of good things happened tonight but, unfortunately, there was more bad than good. Bellevue's a good team and when you go up against the Bellevues, Issaquahs and Newports, there's not a lot of room for error," said Wildcat coach Dirk Hansen. "The little things are what get you when you're playing the better teams. You can get away with those little things when you're playing the mid-level teams, but not the good ones, and tonight it just kind of had a snowballing effect on us and we weren't taking care of just some simple little fundamental things out of our offensive sets, as well as our defense, and the end result is a big loss."

Travis scored 13 to lead the Wildcats in defeat and Cody Brazen added 10 to pace the home victors.

The Wildcats took their frustrations out on a bitter rival on Friday as they successfully avenged their heartbreaking loss at home earlier in the season to the Newport Knights by beating Newport on their home floor. The 50-43 victory by Mount Si was not only satisfying for the Wildcats, it forced the Knights to play the Wolverines Monday in a tiebreaker game at Liberty for a first-round bye in the Kingco Tournament. It also gave the team an automatic Sea-King District berth.

This week it's the Kingco tournament and the start of the postseason.

"We always come out no matter who we're playing and we always try to give our very best effort," Hansen said, "Sometimes, for whatever reason, we just can't get that darn ball to go in the hoop, but all that I can say is we're going to come out and play our very, very hardest and try to represent our community with pride and sportsmanship and give our very best effort out there."

Tournament play continues through Friday at Bellevue Community College (BCC). Should Mount Si finish in the top five, which is expected, they will advance to the Sea-King District Tournament next week, with games at Mercer Island, BCC and Ingraham High School in Seattle.

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