Wildcats struggle at tourney

SNOQUALMIE - For the second straight year, the Mount Si Wildcat boys' basketball team struggled at a holiday basketball tournament in California.

Last year at a Chatsworth tournament the Wildcats lost all but their final game to finish near the bottom. This year wasn't much better, as Mount Si finished seventh in their division at the Surf 'N Slam Tournament in San Diego.

The Wildcats opened tournament play last Monday with a loss to the Rhinelander Hodags from Wisconsin. Kevin Englund scored a game-high 15 points, but it was not enough as the Hodags shot a torrid 58 percent from inside the three-point line in posting a 55-44 victory.

Rhinelander also had a balanced scoring attack led by 11-point efforts from Nate Lemmens and Drew Flory, and a 10-point contribution from reserve Jake Smith. Ryan Reilly added eight points to pace the Wildcats.

Mount Si played a much closer game last Tuesday against Scripps Ranch of San Diego, but it was the Falcons who had the last laugh. Kenton Walker picked up a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds), and Marcus Wilson added 17 points of his own as Scripps Ranch outlasted the Wildcats 51-47 in a consolation semifinal. Kyle Clearman scored 11 points to lead Mount Si, while Englund added eight and Erik Tierney picked up nine to assist the Wildcats. Second-chance points off rebounds were key; as the Falcons outscored Mount Si in this department 14-0.

After a much-needed off day last Wednesday, the Wildcats played the host school University City on Thursday and rallied from an early deficit to pick up the win, 62-54, over the Centurions. Clearman scored 17 to lead all scorers and Tierney added 16 to pace Mount Si.

With the tournament done, the Wildcats have now reached the halfway point of the season. Mount Si is 5-5 overall, 2-2 in conference. England (11.4 points per game) and Tierney (11.5) are the team's top scorers. In limited duty, senior Zach Bowen is shown as the best shooter from inside three-point range, making 54.5 percent of his shots. Englund has taken the most shots, however, with 74 attempts through 10 games and has hit 39 of those attempts for a 52.7 percent mark.

Two players have a 100-percent shooting percentage: freshman Caleb Williams, a JV player who briefly played for varsity just before the holiday break, and varsity reserve junior Tyler Littlejohn, who each hit their lone shot attempt during the course of the first half of the season.

From beyond three-point range, Clearman leads, shooting 44 percent from the perimeter. In limited duty, senior reserve Jon Clegg is the team's top free-throw shooter, hitting all four of his attempts for a 100-percent mark. Reilly leads the regular players in free throw percentage with an 83.3 percent mark.

Mount Si has scored an average of 53.6 points per contest, putting up shooting percentages of 43.5 percent from inside three-point range and 30.1 percent from outside the arc, while giving up 55.7 points.

England (46) and Meuli (45) are the team's top rebounders with Englund holding the top spot in the offensive rebounds category at 18.

The Wildcats resumed play Tuesday at home and play at Bellevue on Friday. Mount Si is on the road all next week, and will not play at home again until Jan. 18 when they meet Liberty. Tip times for all games are at 7:30 p.m.

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