SVSJ preview: With the young core back and the addition of talented athletes, Mount Si’s boys’ hoops squad could be on the verge of something special, but don’t tell that to their coach just yet………

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we wrap up our series of Valley high school winter sports previews, with a look at Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team.

Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team last season had to work real hard to earn a trip to the Kingco playoffs. This year, anchored by a pair of young stars and the addition of several top athletes, the Wildcats could be poised for bigger and better things.

Jason Griffith is back for his second season as head coach after an 8-12 season last year, and while we anticipate a special season this winter, the coach is a little more modest in his expectations. “I don’t know how special we’ll be right now, but I can tell you that we’re preparing ourselves to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful,” he said.

Sophomores Tyler Patterson and Jabe Mullins lead the cast of returners, with both expected to be among the top offensive threats in Kingco this season. Mullins led the team in scoring last season, averaging 14 points and six rebounds a contest, while Patterson, despite missing the early part of the season with a foot injury, ended up averaging 10 points a contest in his 14 games of work.

However, the addition of football athletes Jack Westover and Jesiah Irish, both seniors, and Jonny Barrett, a junior, adds an element to the team that could really help things. “We’re more athletic,” Griffith said. “We’re deeper than we were last year, so I think we’ll be able to do more stuff defensively, pick guys up, be able to rotate our kids more and hopefully cause a little more havoc for the offense.” And it’s especially helpful that Barrett and Irish are showing themselves to be very coachable and willing to learn. “They’re both picking up things pretty quickly, so that’s nice,” the coach said.

Patterson also expects big things from the newcomers. “I really think those two players will definitely help us. They’re going to bring that athleticism, that football mentality, that toughness and grit to our team,” he said.

Another top returner is senior Brendan Botten. Botten, who will look to improve this season – he averaged a modest six points a game last season as a junior – is ready to provide leadership. “I just want to be the best mentor to the younger guys, especially Jabe and Tyler, and pass on my leadership to those guys,” Botten said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to lead this team to be successful.”

The top team to beat this season, according to the coach and the three players we interviewed – Botten, Patterson and Mullins – is Bothell. Anchored by senior Cameron Tyson, the Cougars are seen as potentially an equally good team this year. “We’ve got our sights on them for a Kingco championship,” Botten said.

The Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal viewed the late portion of their practice Monday prior to conducting interviews for this preview, and we saw tremendous intensity from all of the players and it is hoped that that intensity will transfer into game action. Griffith is looking for that to occur. “We pride ourselves on execution. I think we’re going to be able to get up and down the floor better this year in transition. I think we’ll be able to put more points on the board,” he said.

Mount Si’s schedule opens at home December 1 against Newport. The Wildcats’ home games this season will all be against Kingco opponents, with all except one game (January 23 against Eastlake) beginning around 8:15 pm as the back end of doubleheaders with the girls’ basketball team leading them off with home games of their own. Mount Si’s nonconference schedule will be played over the holiday break as they return to Palm Springs to play in the tournament they played in last year down there. This year, they play in that event’s top division, and could find themselves playing some of the best teams in the country, so there will be an opportunity for the Wildcats to make noise nationally with success in the event.

Mullins thinks this group can go a long way. “To the (Tacoma) Dome. I think we’ll win Kingco,” he said.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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