Hoops: Mount Si defeats Glacier Peak in district title game

Wildcats are considered the Class 4A state favorite.

BOTHELL — No, the Glacier Peak Grizzlies were never quite able to reel in the Mount Si Wildcats. But Glacier Peak showed enough that should the teams meet again when the stakes are even higher, the Grizzlies may just find a way to land that big fish.

In a possible preview of a Class 4A state boys basketball championship game, Mount Si’s big three had too much for Glacier Peak to overcome, and the Wildcats defeated the Grizzlies 59-53 in the District 1/2 championship game Feb. 16 at North Creek High School.

The trio of Blake Forrest (18), Trevor Hennig (17) and Latt Ford (14) combined to score 49 of Mount Si’s points, and one of the three came up with big plays every time Glacier Peak, which played from behind the entire game, threatened to catch up. The Wildcats, considered by many to be the best team in the state regardless of classification, claimed their third straight district championship.

But Glacier Peak hung tough, with Josiah Lee (26 points) and Isaiah Cuellar-Bell (13 points) regularly making high-degree-of-difficulty shots to keep the Grizzlies close. And if not for a late non-call Glacier Peak may have found the formula for beating Mount Si.

Ford, an ultra-talented 6-foot-6 sophomore wing, added 10 rebounds and three key second-half blocks, while Forrest, a lightning-quick senior point guard, played a heady all-court game with six boards and six assists for Mount Si (23-2), which hasn’t lost to a team from Washington this season.

”That definitely (felt like a state championship-caliber game),” Forrest said. “There was a great atmosphere here, too. They were really good, definitely the best team we’ve probably played so far.”

Freshman forward Zachary Albright added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Glacier Peak (22-2).

Mount Si announced its intentions from the start, as the Wildcats scored straight off the opening tip and led 5-0 before the fans had a chance to settle into their seats. Mount Si pushed its lead to as many as 10 in the first quarter, and if not for Lee’s shot making Glacier Peak could have been run out of the building early.

But the Grizzlies made a number of runs at the Wildcats, with the last of those coming during a decisive sequence with less than two minutes remaining. Mount Si led 56-51 when Glacier Peak’s Reed Nagel scored on a drive to the hoop, stole the ensuing inbound pass, and then found another lane to the rim. Nagel took a good bump from Hennig, but no foul was called. Had a foul been called Hennig would have fouled out, and Nagel would have been at the line with a chance to cut the lead to one with 1:45 remaining. Instead, Hennig scored in transition on a nice feed from Forrest about 30 seconds later to effectively clinch the game.

Prior to that sequence, one of Mount Si’s big three had an answer for each Glacier Peak run. Ford did the heavy lifting early, scoring 10 in the first quarter as the Grizzlies struggled to deal with his size and athleticism. Forrest did the damage in the second quarter, twice hitting 3s after Glacier Peak pulled with two or three. Then Hennig did the work in the third as he was able to find buckets in transition en route to nine of his 17.