Mount Si’s girls’ hoopsters want you to know one thing: They defend well, and they’re winning because of it; team now 3-0 after home-opening victory over Redmond

Mount Si High School coach Jason Marr (center) goes over strategy with his Wildcat girls’ basketball team in a timeout during last night’s game with Redmond. Mount Si defensively has allowed an average of just 23 points a contest in their first three games, and held Redmond to under 25% shooting from the floor in their win over the Mustangs. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

The early-season story for Mount Si High School’s girls’ basketball team has been their tough defense. A defense which, going into last night’s Kingco 4A – and home – opener against Redmond, had only allowed 39 points through their first two games, just 13 on Monday in their win over Monroe, one of the lowest point totals allowed by a Mount Si team defensively in 10 years. So the challenge was to see if that would continue last night. The answer was an emphatic yes.

The Wildcats held Redmond to just under 25% shooting from the floor, and it would have been worse for the Mustangs if it weren’t for a late push in which they outscored Mount Si 17-8 in the final quarter. But by then, it was a day late and a dollar short for Redmond as the Wildcats cruised to a 54-30 victory aided by a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs, from star junior post player Sela Heide.

Mount Si High School girls’ basketball junior post player Sela Heide (#32 in white) leaps to attempt a basket in last night’s Wildcat game with Redmond. She finished with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Mount Si win over the Mustangs. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

“I think that the last two years, especially for our junior group, has just been a learning experience and this year, it’s finally clicking for us,” Heide said, as she finished a torrid 9-13 from the floor herself as Mount Si shot just under 40% as a team. Nitika Kumar had 11 points to pace the Wildcats, but stole the ball five times, part of a 14-steal effort for Mount Si, who forced 23 total Redmond turnovers in the contest. “I think our defense has improved a lot just because we’ve been running two really well, which is our zone, and I think our energy is definitely a lot higher, which helps,” Kumar said.

Teammate Joelle Buck thinks that team unity and cohesion also is a factor. “I feel like we’ve played together so long that we know each other’s strengths and we just play really well together,” she said. Coach Jason Marr agreed. “That’s just part of the process of these kids playing together and just trusting one another and that’s what we’ve been trying to do,” he said. With this being a league win, those are all going to be important this year as the Wildcats push for the postseason. It has been a challenge to get wins in this conference over the past few seasons, so Marr is thrilled that the girls were able to deliver. “They haven’t had too many league wins in the past five years, so for us to come out and have a good showing is a good feeling,” he said. “It’s nice to see the smiles on their face when they’re playing.”

And there were plenty of those throughout the game both from the girls and Marr on the bench, and that perhaps is a very good sign of what’s to come. Girls are buying in to what the coach is teaching them, they’re having success with it and that breeds confidence. Confidence which can prove useful down the road once the meat of this league schedule takes shape. And it’s going to do that next week, with two very important games – perhaps the most important for this program since former coach Megan Botulinski’s first year with the Wildcats as their coach several years ago – against Crest Division foes Eastlake Wednesday at EHS and then home next Saturday night with Issaquah before their trip to Phoenix for their holiday tournament. But in the meantime, there’s another nonleague game on tap tomorrow, as they host Mercer Island. Kumar thinks the key to success is simple. “Doing the same thing we just did tonight, being consistent,” she said.

Redmond was led by 11 points from Sami Castanos.

Tomorrow’s game starts at 7:15 p.m. and is at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie. Fans unable to catch the game will be able to see it online on YouTube.

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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