Wildcats fall to Mercer Island, Bellevue

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats boys' basketball team has been struggling of late and those struggles continued with a rather lopsided loss last Tuesday at home to the Mercer Island Islanders.

Senior Noah Blakney scored 23 points and the Islanders shot nearly 70 percent from inside the three-point line as Mercer Island thoroughly dominated Mount Si, 68-52. The game was competitive for about the first four minutes of the first quarter, then the Islanders took control and cruised to victory.

"I'm just thoroughly embarrassed," said an unhappy Wildcats coach Garrick Phillips. "We got beaten in every aspect of the game. They were more aggressive and they were more disciplined"

Islander coach Ed Pepple was pleased with his team's effort.

"Well, our kids came out, I think, really prepared. We had a great tournament over Christmas and played very well so I think we came out with confidence tonight, and I was very pleased with our early effort," Pepple said.

Senior Erik Tierney scored 16 for the Wildcats in defeat, while juniors Kevin Englund and Kyle Clearman put in 14 and 12, respectively, to help the Mount Si cause.

Clearman attributed the loss to the Wildcats' inability to control the flow of the game.

"We came out and started playing at their speed and didn't play our own game. We just got out of it early, and never could get it back," said Clearman.

Englund thinks many things have to change in order for this team to get better.

"I mean, right now, it just doesn't feel like we're playing as a team. We've got lots of things we can get better at, just about everything, and yeah, all we can do is get better, and that's what we got to do," said Englund.

Junior David Kelley scored 11 to pace the Islanders.

Things were tough again last Friday at Bellevue as the Wildcats posted another loss, this time to the Bellevue Wolverines. This game was all about the third quarter as the Wolverines held Mount Si to just three points in the frame in a 51-45 Bellevue win.

Senior Stephen Schilling led all scorers with 19 points and junior Kevin Stangvik added 16 to pace the Wolverines. The Wolverines shot better than 50 percent from inside the three-point line in the second half, a strong counter to Mount Si's second-half shooting performance, which was below 25 percent. Englund scored 15 to pace Mount Si.

Another key to the victory for Bellevue: rebounds. The Wolverines out-rebounded Mount Si 45-33 in the contest.

Since losing in overtime to nonleague foe Eastlake on Dec. 14, the Wildcats have lost six of seven contests.

Mount Si, going into this week's games, is now 2-4 in conference; 5-7 overall. Winning the coming games will be imperative to the Wildcats' post-season. On Friday, Mount Si travels to Issaquah to take on an Eagles team that beat the Wildcats earlier in the season at Mount Si. In that game, Issaquah senior star Garrison Carr scored an eye-popping 37 points as the Eagles blew out to a huge lead early and held on for the 70-61 win.

Game time for Friday's game at Issaquah High School is 7:30 p.m. Mount Si returns home next Tuesday to face the Liberty Patriots.

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