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'Cats split games
SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcat boys' basketball team is in a tough fight with several other teams for postseason slots and every win is important.
Especially those that come against teams that should be beatable, such as the Liberty Patriots. The Patriots, winless in Kingco 3A play this season, came to Mount Si last Tuesday looking to avenge a one-point loss earlier in the season to the Wildcats. Early on, it appeared they were going to do that. Once the second quarter started, however, things were much different. Mount Si held Liberty to just five points in the frame, and behind a balanced scoring effort led by Erik Tierney and Kyle Clearman's respective 10-point efforts, the Wildcats posted a 57-44 win.
"We started out the game playing their style and after the first five minutes the rest of the game was our style. They [the Patriots] just weren't successful playing at that speed," said Mount Si coach Garrick Phillips, who provided everybody with quality time on the floor in the contest.
All except two players scored points in the effort for the Wildcats. Senior Mac Farnsworth scored just five points, but his contributions were important to the overall effort.
"I just went out and tried to play as hard as I could and make sure that I was doing all that I could for the team," Farnsworth said.
Phillips credited Farnsworth and the reserves with giving the team a kick start.
"We started out real sluggish, then our bench came in and gave us a huge lift. Mac Farnsworth hit a big shot and that kind of got the ball rolling," Phillips said.
Freshman Caleb Williams saw likely the most playing time he's had this season with eight minutes. Playing at this level as a freshman is a new experience.
"It was definitely different. I just got to be confident and believe in my game," Williams said.
He added that his teammates, in particular veterans Tierney and Clearman, have helped him adjust.
"Several players have helped me feel comfortable [especially being a freshman], like Erik Tierney and Kyle Clearman," Williams said. "The coaches are great, helping me get used to the system."
Bryce Hockett led Liberty with a game-high 13 points in the loss.
Mount Si traveled to Sammamish Friday, and cold shooting (28 percent from inside three-point range) resulted in a rather costly loss to the Totems. Despite Tierney's game-high 24 points and a season-high 14 for Farnsworth off the bench, it was Sammamish who had the last laugh, 69-53.
The Totems outscored the Wildcats 20-10 in the third quarter, and that was the difference. Jaz Giacchetti scored 17 to lead Sammamish, while Danny Bright (16), Thomas Bright (14) and Lyndon Estill (double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds) paced the Totems' effort. Sammamish shot 57 percent from inside the three-point range.
The loss was costly for Mount Si since the Wildcats and Totems are among five teams currently fighting for four playoff berths.
Two more weeks remain in the regular season. On Friday, Mount Si heads to Mercer Island. Next week, the Wildcats wrap up the regular schedule at home with a Tuesday tilt with Bellevue and a Friday "Senior Night" clash with Newport. The game Tuesday against Bellevue may be the game that decides the season for Mount Si, since Bellevue is also among the teams right in the thick of the race. Game times are 7:30 p.m.