Back after a long winter break with round 3 of our Friday high school hoops previews and picks: Home cooking with playoff spots on line for both Mount Si and Cedarcrest boys and girls

Good Friday morning. We are back following the holiday break with a return of our Friday hoops previews and picks segment. It has been almost a month since we last had a hardwood previews and picks segment, so it’s good to be back. We’ll be doing this from now until the end of the regular season, and then again in the playoffs. And tonight, our return is full of home cooking as Mount Si and Cedarcrest welcome in foes in what we think is probably one of the more important regular season Fridays on the hardwood for both schools in some time, so get on out tonight and support your local kids if you can get the chance.

The Red Wolves are hosting Archbishop Murphy tonight, with both the boys and girls battling for top spot in the Cascade with the Wildcats, while Mount Si hosts Woodinville, with the boys needing a win to perhaps start a strong push to postseason. The girls’ games at both sites (Cedarcrest High School in Duvall and Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie) will tip off at 6:30 p.m., with the boys’ games in both locations to follow at around 8:10 or so. A big night ahead, and we have previews and picks for both sets of games now, leading off with Mount Si and finishing off with Cedarcrest in both cases. Girls first, then boys.

GIRLS (6:30 p.m. tipoffs)
Mount Si Wildcats vs. Woodinville Falcons – The Wildcat ladies look to deliver against a strong Woodinville team, hoping to avoid being swept in the season series by WHS.

Woodinville is 6-1 in Kingco 4A play and in second place, 9-2 overall, and a key piece to that puzzle is a newcomer.

Freshman Mia Hughes has busted onto the scene in a big way for the Falcons, and is arguably making a case as the Kingco 4A’s freshman of the year, with Mount Si post Gwen Aasland also making a good case for that distinction; more on that in a moment.

Hughes is averaging 16.4 points per game for a Woodinville team that is in second in the conference at 6-1 and who has already beaten the Wildcats once this season – a 66-37 rout in Mount Si’s season opener December 4. The young star scored 15 that night, and is coming off a similar 15-point effort in the Falcons’ most recent win, last Friday over Newport. Senior Regan Schenck has also been a factor for the green, silver and blue, scoring 13 against Mount Si last time out, and coming off a nine-point performance in that win last Friday over the Knights. Those two will be the primary players the Wildcat defense will have to pay attention to.

A third player, though, might also be a factor for Woodinville. Junior Madison Dubois was held to just seven points against Mount Si last time out against the Valley’s best, and had just eight last Friday. But she had a solid holiday break, with three games in double figures during their tournament, in which they went 2-1 against teams from eastern Washington. If Hughes in particular gets into any kind of struggles tonight, Dubois becomes a wild card for this Falcon team we expect.

Mount Si is 5-6 on the season and 2-5 in league, so they need to bounce back if they want to get themselves back into the league race. Leading the team in scoring is sophomore Nitika Kumar, who is averaging 12 points a game, but did not play Wednesday for the Wildcats in their loss to Newport. It is hoped she will be back in action tonight because she is a key to success.

But another key to success increasingly so has been the confident and reliable play of a certain young Ms. Aasland as we previously noted. Aasland has filled in well, although her stats may not show it to any big degree (two points and four rebounds a game), for starting sophomore post Sela Heide as she continues to deal with her knee injury. And from what we have seen of Aasland, we see a player who understands this level of play like most upperclass players and that was especially evident against Skyline January 5 in which she scored nine points and recorded 11 rebounds in that big Mount Si win. She was held scoreless in the 52-34 loss Wednesday against Newport and was limited to three boards.

She’ll need to pick both numbers up tonight for the Wildcats to have success, but her play thus far, while it hasn’t really shown up on paper, has been a critical factor for Mount Si, and has also provided both the team – and Heide, too – flexibility in how her teammate deals with her injury, which we’re sure Heide and her parents are certainly appreciative of, because, as all of you know, knee injuries with girls’ athletes are nothing to mess around with – and especially in the case of a player in Heide who may have a future as an NCAA college Division I player.

Mount Si needs a bounce-back game, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, when they host North Creek. Woodinville, we expect, delivers the “W” tonight. Woodinville 63, Mount Si 45

Cedarcrest Red Wolves vs. Archbishop Murphy Wildcats – The two top teams in the Cascade square off for the second time this season, with at least a share of the league lead on the line.

Murphy is 12-0 and arguably the best team in the Northwest District, if not the Cascade Conference. They hold the lead in the conference and have been dominant all season. They are coming off a 65-33 non-conference win over Renton on Wednesday, but a couple of scores in their recent conference action (an 85-15 blowout of Granite Falls on Tuesday along with a 70-6 rout of Sultan last week) have caught our attention, and perhaps may become the source of some discussion fodder among parents in the bleachers around the Cascade, and that’s all the farther we will go with that.

Junior Emily Rodabaugh is having another fantastic season for ATM. She scored 21 in the win on Wednesday and is averaging a little over 16 a game. In the Wildcats’ first meeting with CHS, a 62-36 win December 12, she was held under that season average slightly, scoring 14. CHS’ defense will once again be focused on her, meaning perhaps other players will have to step up and help out. Among those who just might is senior Maddie Hill. Hill’s coming off a 16-point effort in the win Wednesday and is averaging around 11 a game. She was held to just five points against the Red Wolves last time out, so she’ll look to up that total tonight.

Madi Weir leads CHS, and the senior will be looking to bounce back from a pair of tough games; she scored four points on Tuesday in their 40-30 win over King’s off a similar effort against Sultan (although in that game against the Turks she and other starters played more limited minutes in an effort to keep that game a little more respectable for the struggling Sultan side). She is averaging a little under 10 a night and will be a focal point in the paint.

Freshman Jaylin Yowell is also worth watching; she scored 11 in the win Tuesday against the Knights and is averaging around seven-eight points a game. Seniors Haley Hill and Elaine Townley (eight and 6.5 points per game respectively) also will be factors; Hill led CHS with 17 in their December loss to Murphy. A win for the Red Wolves would tie them for top spot; a loss and they still would hold down second in the league, so the postseason situation won’t be impacted too much either way. That all said, coach Brad Knowles indicated to us after the game Tuesday there were things they would be working on, and it’s hoped that those improvements will be ready for tonight’s big test.

Murphy has been dominant as we noted all season, and haven’t really had a tough test of note yet. While we expect them to win again, we also expect this game to provide that first real tough test for them, and how they fare will speak volumes about how far they’ll go the rest of this season. ATM 60, Cedarcrest 50

BOYS (8:10 p.m. tipoffs* *Approximate start times; games to start around 20 minutes after girls’ games end)
Mount Si Wildcats vs. Woodinville Falcons – The two teams are battling for postseason position tonight, both tied in league play and in a three-way race for the final two playoff spots.

Mount Si is 4-7 overall and 3-4 in Kingco 4A, and the reason tonight’s game is now pretty important is that the Wildcats are coming into this one off a big road win on Tuesday.

Mount Si scored the 67-58 overtime triumph over the Newport Knights, who are sitting in third place overall, and leading the way was sophomore Jabe Mullins. Mullins scored 34 in the win and is now averaging just under 21 points per contest, among the top scorers in the entire conference. Mullins has had double-figures in scoring for all except one game this season – that last Wednesday against Skyline. He’s also averaging around seven-eight rebounds a game, too, so he’s making his presence felt inside.

Fellow sophomore Tyler Patterson was limited to just six points in the win Tuesday and is averaging around 16 a contest. One of the things we have been noticing is that in most of the games this season, one of Mount Si’s so-called by us “Big Three” – that being Patterson, Mullins and junior Bijon Sidhu – has struggled offensively. All three need to be at the top of their games for Mount Si to have success. And Sidhu? He had 15 Tuesday, 19 the last time out against the Falcons, and is averaging around 13 a contest. Sidhu has developed into a significant piece, one which if he’s on message tonight could be a big factor.

Woodinville is tied with Mount Si at 4-7 overall and 3-4 in league play. Junior Josiah Bush leads the Falcons; he scored 12 in a close loss last Saturday night at home to Inglemoor and had 13 in WHS’ 54-42 loss to Mount Si on December 19 at home. Bush is averaging 15 points a game for the Falcons, and has a couple of supporting castmates who also will be focal points for the Wildcat defense.

Sophomore Cage Schenck is averaging around 13 points a game; he scored that number last Saturday in their loss to the Vikings and was held under his season average by Mount Si last time out; he scored just eight in that loss. Schenck will look to step it up tonight, and senior Jaden Sheffey, who you all know from his successful football season for the Falcons, is averaging around 10 points a game, and had 14 in their loss to Inglemoor last weekend. Messrs. Jesiah Irish, Jonny Barrett and Cole Westover, among others, know this guy well and most likely will be doing most of the defending of this Falcon threat.

Both teams are at the back of the field right now in the playoff chase, tied for fifth at that 3-4 league mark, both just ½ game ahead of Eastlake with a game in hand. Mount Si, as you know, has fallen once already to the Wolves, while Woodinville has beaten them. So this becomes perhaps about as close as a “must win” as you can get we think for the Wildcats to assert their position at the playoff table, because tomorrow night they host winless North Creek, so two wins the next two nights, especially with who the other teams are facing – both once against Skyline with Eastlake also getting to face struggling Inglemoor – should be a nice spark for them going into the stretch run. We like Mount Si to get a season series sweep tonight, and to use this as a launch point for a run to a playoff spot come the end of this season. Mount Si 65, Woodinville 60

Cedarcrest Red Wolves vs. Archbishop Murphy Wildcats – Like with the girls, the boys’ teams from both schools are one-two in conference play, so this shapes up to be a similarly interesting battle tonight.

Murphy is 9-5 on the season, 4-2 in Cascade play and looking to overtake the Red Wolves for top spot – they’re going to need to win tonight to give themselves a chance at that. Leading the way tonight for ATM is senior Rweha Munyahi, who CHS did not see last time out (he missed the two teams’ first meeting back in December). Munyahi scored 27 on Tuesday in a 65-56 Wildcat win over Sultan and he is averaging 17.5 points per game on the season. Fellow senior Trey Miller led Murphy, scoring 20 points, in their 56-49 loss to the Red Wolves on December 5, and comes off a 16-point performance Tuesday against the Turks. Miller is averaging 15.5 points a game, and having Munyahi alongside for this one will be a big difference-maker we expect. He also is leading the team in rebounding, with around 12 of those a game, so Murphy’s stronger one-two will be notable tonight.

The Red Wolves are 5-7 overall, but that’s a bit of a misnomer; they are in first in the conference at 5-1 in league, anchored by that previously mentioned win over Murphy last month. Junior Chris Busch leads CHS, who hasn’t played in eight days since an 83-58 blowout of Sultan last Thursday up north in Turk country. Busch scored 22 to lead the Red Wolves in that win and is averaging a little over 11 points a game. Senior Aaron Davenport had 16 in that game last week – and 16 as well in the previous meeting with the Wildcats – and is averaging 10 ½ points a night. Davenport, bound for Hawaii on a baseball scholarship this fall, has become a significant factor for the Red Wolves as the season winds along, and his leadership tonight could be a critical piece of the puzzle.

There are two things that will be deciders tonight, and we’ve discussed them both. First, the stronger Murphy team with Munyahi on board, and perhaps a little rust for the CHS legs although they could certainly use a little rest after a busy start to the season. This will be a big one for the Red Wolves if they can get that season series sweep, but Munyahi ends up being the decider as we look for a Murphy win. ATM 65, Cedarcrest 55

December 15: CHS boys and girls def. Granite Falls (we correctly picked both wins); Mount Si boys and girls fell to Eastlake (we picked Mount Si boys to win and correctly picked MSHS girls’ loss)
Total: 3-1
Season total: 6-2

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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