The Mount Si boys basketball team outscored Issaquah 17-5 in the final six minutes to pull away for a comfortable 71-56 win on Feb. 1 at Mount Si High School.
Senior guard Jabe Mullins led the scoring for the Wildcats with 23 points and 12 assists. Senior Tyler Patterson also added 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
Another standout for the hosts was forward Hayden Curtiss who scored 14 points for the Wildcats. Mullins said the 6-foot-9 senior has been playing great basketball lately for the Wildcats.
“(Curtiss’) presence is so big,” Mullins said. “We can just throw it to him because a lot of guys are focused on me and Tyler (Patterson). When they close on us, we can just give it to him and he’s there to finish everything.”
The win over the Eagles was the 12th straight victory for the Wildcats who haven’t lost since their 58-41 defeat against Capital Christian (California) on Dec. 27.
The Eagles opened the game with three 3-pointers to take an early 9-7 lead, but the Wildcats pulled away for a 34-24 lead at halftime. Issaquah closed the gap to 54-51 midway in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats tightened defensively to secure the win.
Mullins said the Wildcats need to get back to their defensive identity. He explained that they need to work on team defense, communicating more on the court and not getting beat backdoor.
“We struggled tonight on defense,” Mullins said. “We just need to have better team defense.”
Despite their perfect league record, the Wildcats have played in some close league games this season. The Wildcats had a narrow 77-72 victory over Bothell on Jan. 25 before they cruised past Newport 78-22 on Jan. 28. Mullins said playing in close games now will be huge for them when they begin the postseason.
“We don’t want to play all blowout games,” Mullins said. “We want some close games because we’re going to see a lot of close games in districts and playoffs.”
Mullins said the Eagles played a zone defense, which is something they haven’t seen a lot this season.
“(At halftime) we talked about how to attack the zone, because they play a pretty good zone,” Mullins said. “It was good for us to see zone tonight, because not many teams zone us.”
The 4A boys KingCo tournament will begin on Feb. 7 at Sammamish High School, and the championship game will be on Feb. 8.
The Mount Si girls started strong, but were unable to slow the Issaquah Eagles offense in a 70-53 loss on Feb. 1.
Issaquah had no answer early for Mount Si 6-foot-8 senior Sela Heide who scored the game’s first six points. The Wildcats had an early 12-3 lead, but the Eagles made three 3-pointers to tie the game at 12 at the end of the first quarter.
It looked like the two teams were headed into halftime tied at 29, but Mount Si guard Nitika Kumar hit two free throws after being fouled with 0.4 seconds left. The ensuing inbound pass for the Eagles went out of bounds without being touched, giving the Wildcats another shot with less than a second on the clock. On the inbound play, Heide hit a shot at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 33-29 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the Eagles outscored the Wildcats 41-20 to pull away for a 70-53 win to clinch the regular season Crest title.
Heide had a game-high 27 points and pulled in 15 rebounds for the Wildcats. Sophomore Lauren Glazier added 12 points and senior Joelle Buck had 7 points.
The 4A girls KingCo tournament will be held Feb. 7-8 at Sammamish High School. At press time, the Wildcats were third in the Crest behind Issaquah and Eastlake.