A mammoth birthday dunk, a 4A KingCo Tournament championship trophy and a raucous wave of congratulations from the Mount Si faithful.
That was just part of Jabe Mullins’ evening on the basketball court as the Wildcats defeated Skyline, 54-33, on Saturday at Sammamish High. Mullins poured in a team-high 23 points to go along with his squad-best 24 points from the night before in a 70-48 triumph over Inglemoor to advance to the title matchup.
“This is one of my best birthday presents. This year I got to play for the KingCo championship on my birthday and it’s just a great feeling,” said Mullins, who said he woke up happy on his 18th, worked out and planned to hang out with friends that night. He was pleased with the cupcakes his mom and girlfriend made and brought to the game.
Fellow senior Hayden Curtiss tallied 14 and 13 points, respectively, in the two games and rattled the rim with two dunks against Skyline to light up the Wildcat student section. Quin and Tyler Patterson amassed 13 and 11 points, respectively, against Inglemoor.
Mount Si (19-3) will next display its stellar basketball skills at the 4A Wes-King District Tournament on Feb. 15.
Against Skyline, the score was deadlocked at 13-13 after the first quarter and Mount Si held a 23-19 advantage at halftime. Mount Si took a 31-21 lead on a Curtiss putback, and Mullins’ high-flying layin gave the Wildcats a 42-26 lead after three quarters. A brilliant pair of passes from Bennett O’Connor to Mullins to Curtiss resulted in the last player’s layin to continue the Wildcats’ scoring spree.
“Our first half wasn’t very good. We played good defense, but we just couldn’t get shots to fall,” Mullins said. “At halftime, we just talked about reversing the ball, start getting to the rim and then when we shoot shots, we need to go crash the offensive glass and get putbacks.”
Added head coach Jason Griffith: “I felt like our guys responded. We only took two 3-point shots in the second half. Everything else was in the paint, perimeter, transition, hitting the glass.”
Curtiss said that Skyline’s offense was tiring for Mount Si in the first half and the Wildcats forced their shots when they moved into offensive mode.
“We worked on holding the ball longer the second half to give them more time on their defense, get them more tired. We just came out and played the best we could the second half,” said Curtiss, who Griffith noted has emerged in the last 12 games and has come close to averaging a double-double in each contest.
Curtiss said the Wildcats were ready from the get-go to make an impact this season.
“We’ve just been grinding at practice every day, working hard — and here we are,” Curtiss said.
Griffith said the Wildcats have been inconsistent at times on defense this season and he feels they’re peaking at the right time on that end of the court.
“We held a good Inglemoor team in check last night, tonight we defended Skyline really well, so I think the kids are starting to understand that’s a big part of our identity,” Griffith said.