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Wildcat girls shock Lakeside
The Mount Si Wildcat girls basketball team faced its toughest competition thus far this season last Wednesday, Dec. 23, in the Lakeside Lions. The Metro League’s Lions came in as one of the top teams in 3A, and are ranked among the best teams in the state every year.
But the Wildcats were coming in off their best performance of the year thus far, a 47-39 win over a feisty Port Angeles team Saturday, Dec. 19. Mount Si athletes knew they would be in for a big challenge, but the Wildcats were ready.
Behind a solid 16 points from Hailey Eddings, a game high, the Wildcats improved on their performance against Port Angeles, scoring a stunning 59-49 win over the Lions. Traci Nelson added 10 first-half points.
“Again, we came to play four quarters,” said an elated Mount Si coach Megan Botulinski. “The girls are playing with their heart; they’re coming with full intensity. I keep saying this, but it’s honestly true, we’re getting better every single game.”
Lakeside held the lead for much of the first half, behind strong performances from senior Madeline Barnes and sophomore Danielle Estill. Estill finished with 16 to lead the Lions, while Barnes finished with 14 to pace Lakeside.
Near the end of the first half, Eddings was fouled attempting to hit a three-pointer and got three free throws, which she all hit to give Mount Si a 26-25 lead going into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be a seesaw battle, won by Mount Si as they headed to the final stanza with a 41-38 lead. Lakeside responded to open the fourth quarter and took the lead themselves, but Mount Si rallied down the stretch and retook control, this time for good. A pair of baskets by Molly Sellers with around three minutes left in the frame put the Wildcats in front to stay, and free throws the rest of the way sealed it up, with Eddings, Thompson, Jori Braun, Stevie Riley and Haley Chase all hitting them from the line to help finish the job.
“It was really exciting because we just had a big win on Saturday,” Thompson said. “We (took) that energy and tried to put it into this game, too.”
The charged atmosphere is rubbing off on Sellers, a freshman.
“It’s just great having people feel positive around me,” she said. “They help me work through my weaknesses.”
The key to success, according to Botulinski, is all in Mount Si players’ heads.
“The girls have always had the physical intensity, but we’ve been working on having a tough mental attitude,” the coach said.
The Wildcats next week wrap up their nonleague schedule with games at a holiday tournament in Snohomish County, then return home for a game Saturday with Cedarcrest.