Along with solid activity on both ends of the court, Mount Si boys head basketball coach Jason Griffith aims to get his players mentally and physically tough to grind down teams and put notches in the victory column.
“Hopefully getting to the Dome, that’s our biggest goal,” junior 6-foot-7 shooting guard Tyler Patterson said of the Tacoma hoops hot spot that hosts that state tournament.
Mount Si (13-11 last season) just missed out on a trip to the Dome last year after its final shot rolled out of the hoop and they lost by one point to Skyline.
Griffith — who is beginning his third year at the helm — said the team was developing as a program last year and now a couple players have two to three solid years of varsity experience under their belts. He’s hoping to see the Wildcats emerge as a more disciplined and composed squad in 4A KingCo play.
With Patterson — who’d like to earn the league defensive most valuable player award — and junior 6-6 guard Jabe Mullins leading the charge, there’s a lot of buzz around the team, which is ranked fifth in the state. The marquee players were first-team all-league sophomores and they’ve received NCAA Division I offers, Griffith said.
“(We’re) just kind of telling them we got one day at a time, you’ve got the bull’s-eye on your back now. We knew it was gonna be the case in our league, but now getting this state ranking is probably more so around the state,” Griffith said.
Griffith is pleased with Patterson and Mullins’ Wildcat comrades like senior Brett Williams, who enters his fourth year on varsity and possesses great leadership; freshman point guard Bennett O’Connor, whose talent and smarts spread to both ends of the court; and then there’s senior Jonny Barrett fresh off the football field and senior Robbie Stevens, freshman Quinn Patterson and sophomore Jack Williams.
Mount Si (1-1 at press time) — which features 11 players standing 6 feet or above — needs to be energetic and showcase its athleticism and transition play to make its mark this season, said Mullins, who added that they’ve got some big scorers and 3-point guys on tap.
The Wildcats’ bonds are tight to boot.
“This is the closest team that I’ve been on since my freshman year. Everyone’s been playing their whole entire life and we can hold each other accountable, take criticism. At the end of the day, we know that we got each other’s back. I wouldn’t wanna go into battle with anyone else,” Mullins said.
There will surely be plenty of close games when all is said and done and Brett Williams said the team will grow the most during those tight contests.
Williams echoed Mullins’ sentiments about players listening to each other and learning from tough spots along the way, and those are beneficial attributes to have on a squad, he added.
There’s serious moments and then there’s a dose of humor as well when it comes to Wildcat basketball as Williams explains his role on the team:
“I bring a little bit of strength on the inside. You saw Tyler, he’s a little skinny, so I bring a little bit of power, play tough defense,” he said, adding that he chips in all over the court, from scoring to rebounding to moving the ball around and getting teammates involved.
A little bit of everything, said Williams, with heaps of confidence in his voice as the season gets underway.
Mount Si boys schedule
Dec. 4 REDMOND, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 11 at Eastlake, 8 p.m.
Dec. 14 at Newport, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 ISSAQUAH, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 21 SKYLINE, 8 p.m.
Jan. 4 at Woodinville, 8 p.m.
Jan. 8 BOTHELL, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 11 EASTLAKE, 8 p.m.
Jan. 12 INGLEMOOR, 8 p.m.
Jan. 15 NEWPORT, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Skyline, 8 p.m.
Jan. 21 Enumclaw at Showare Center, Kent, TBD
Jan. 25 at Issaquah, 8 p.m.
Jan. 29 at North Creek, 8 p.m.