Mount Si girls solid against Mercer Island, Liberty

The Mount Si girls basketball team gave Mercer Island — Kingco 3A’s toughest team — everything they could handle last Wednesday, Jan. 20.

But at the end of the day, and after two Mount Si game-winning shot attempts which both missed, the Islanders escaped with the win.

The Wildcats fell 51-50 in a game which was close throughout. Hailey Eddings scored 15 to lead Mount Si, while Stevie Riley pitched in 12 to aid the Wildcat cause.

Despite the defeat, Wildcat coach Megan Botulinski was thrilled with her team’s effort.

“I told the girls that they should not walk out of this locker room with their heads down at all,” Botulinski said. “They need to keep their heads up and be really proud of what they did.”

“It was disappointing at the end, but I think we just brought the intensity at the beginning,” said freshman Molly Sellers. “I think we do better when we know that we’re the underdog.”

Botulinski praised efforts by Eddings.

“Hailey had great rebounds tonight and her free throws were impeccable,” she said.

Things started out slow for Mount Si, as the Islanders used baskets from Hailey Gullstad to open with an early 6-1 lead. The Wildcats were cold offensively at first, as they did not hit their first basket until 2:36 left in the opening quarter. That three-pointer from Riley sparked the Mount Si offense on a run which would see them grab the lead for the first time at the end of the first frame, 12-11, on a basket at the buzzer by Traci Nelson. The senior finished with six points.

Mercer Island got the lead back early in the second quarter behind a couple of key baskets from Jae Shin, who finished with 10 points. With the Islanders still leading and under four minutes left in the half, a pair of Eddings free throws and another Riley three sparked another Mount Si rally, which helped them retake the lead behind solid free throw shooting. The Wildcats finished 23 of 29 on the night from the line.

After a third quarter which saw a couple of lead changes, the Wildcats were set up well going to the final frame. Mount Si pulled out to a 44-35 lead before the Islanders rallied to retake control of the game.

Last Friday, Jan. 22, the Wildcats rebounded behind 21 points from Karly Thompson for a key 57-46 win over Liberty. Eddings expects these efforts to mean something as Mount Si heads into the second half of the schedule.

“It shows that we’re really working hard,” she said. “We’re improving, and we’re going to beat these teams.”

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