Not even a loss in the state championship game could dampen the spirits of the gritty Mount Si Wildcats boys basketball squad.
The Wildcats, who lost 69-43 to the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups in the 4A state matchup on March 2 at the Tacoma Dome, proved the naysayers wrong throughout the 2018-19 season. Mount Si third-year head coach Jason Griffith couldn’t have been prouder of his team following the game. The Wildcats finished with an overall record of 26-3.
“We showed in this tournament that we belonged in this game. We beat a lot of good teams along the way to get here. We just ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Griffith said.
Mount Si kept the game close in the first half and trailed by just eight points (31-23) at halftime. Gonzaga Prep outscored Mount Si 20-6 in the third quarter to put the game away. Bullpups’ forward Anton Watson scored a game-high 33 points in the contest.
“They got out and ran. One of our main focuses coming into this game was transition. I don’t think they (Gonzaga Prep) get the credit they deserve for being a team that gets up and down the floor. They share the ball well and they can all finish at the hoop. They also have the best player (Watson) in the state,” Griffith said.
Mount Si players Jabe Mullins and Bennett O’Connor each scored 13 points apiece in the loss. Tyler Patterson added 12 points as well. Mullins was proud of what his team accomplished throughout its playoff run.
“No one expected us to here. We fought through all of the adversity. We didn’t get the job done but we’ll be back next year,” Mullins said.
Patterson concurred with Mullins’ sentiment.
“Considering where we started last year, we were just at about .500 (13-11 overall record), coming this far means everything for our seniors. Seeing Brett (Williams), Jonny (Barrett) and Robbie (Stevens) come from a winless program to a state title contender means a lot,” Patterson said.
Griffith was thrilled to see the senior class experience an abundance of success in its final season as Wildcats basketball players.
“It was a great experience for those seniors. I know it’s going to be an emotional locker room,” Griffith said just minutes following the game. “They’ve given their heart and soul to this program the past three years. I know a lot of people talk about us coming back next year and this and that. We need to focus on what we accomplished this year, which was a lot.”