Back with another round of hardwood previews and picks….Mount Si’s Wildcats against some Woody Falcons, and Cedarcrest’s Red Wolves vs. some folks from a certain island they know well……

Good Friday morning. The winter break has come to a close and with that we roll out the Friday previews and picks for the hardwood once again. Tonight, it’s a road diet with Mount Si’s boys and girls and Cedarcrest’s boys hitting the road while the Red Wolve girls are home. We start with the ladies first then the guys follow.

Mount Si Wildcats @ Woodinville Falcons, Woodinville HS, 6:30 – Back to work for the Wildcat ladies as they take on the Kingco’s best in this out-of-divisional clash starting off the second half of the schedule.

Mount Si comes in at a solid 7-4 after splitting their four games at the Nike Tournament of Champions over the holiday break. They beat two Phoenix-area schools but fell to two others down there, and have been off since the Saturday before Christmas, so rust might be a bit of a factor tonight for the Wildcats.

Sela Heide is leading Mount Si in scoring, averaging around 13 a game, but had some challenges against the Arizona schools in the Phoenix event. After 19 points in the Wildcats’ tournament opening win December 19 over Avondale’s Westview, she faced off against star freshman Kennedy Basham, a similarly tall and talented player to Heide, from Phoenix’s Pinnacle, and was limited to just five points in that 49-20 loss to the Pinnacle crew, all the while Basham pounded out a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead the victors in that game. Heide, after another down game in their win over Casteel of Queen Creek on December 21, finished out strong in the final game December 22, scoring 13 as Mount Si fell to Chaparral of Scottsdale.

The Wildcats all tournament were without junior Nitika Kumar, and it showed, so it’s hoped she can be back soon, perhaps as soon as tonight. She was injured in their game against Newport December 14 and has been out since. Kumar’s averaging 12 points a game, and her scoring will be key tonight if she plays. Kumar’s absence has allowed others to step up; case in point fellow junior Izzy Smith, who had 11 points in the win down in Arizona over Westview and another 10 for the Wildcats in the win over Casteel and is averaging around seven points a game.

Defense has been a hallmark for Mount Si, as they are averaging around 12 steals a game and have forced around we think 20-25 turnovers a game from opponents, and are also doing well on the offensive glass, averaging better than 10 offensive rebounds a game as a team, helping provide a lot of second-chance opportunities for the offense to do damage.

The Falcons are the class of this conference on the girls’ side this season, 10-1 overall and 5-0 in league; their first loss came over the holiday break at their holiday tournament, so they’ll have a chip on their shoulder we expect coming out of the gate tonight. Their scoring core is a young one. Sophomore Mia Hughes is averaging 22 points and eight rebounds game and freshman Veronica Sheffey is averaging around 14 a contest. Hughes will probably see a ton of Heide tonight, as she looks to bounce back from her so-so performance down in Phoenix at the Nike Tournamernt of Champions.

The Wildcats are, as we noted, a strong defensive team, but Woodinville, well, they’re the best in this league for a reason and have been such for the past few seasons. Coach Scott Bullock runs a strong ship down there and with the core scoring being young like it is, Falcon fans have plenty to look forward to the next few seasons. We like Woodinville in this one, especially since the Wildcats will be a little rusty we expect and we think it’ll show. Woodinville 65, Mount Si 50

Cedarcrest Red Wolves vs. Oak Harbor Wildcats, Cedarcrest HS, Duvall, 7:15 – The Red Wolves are back home tonight restarting Wesco play after a successful return to the season following the holiday break with a win Wednesday over Mount Vernon.

Sidra Griffin scored 13 for CHS in their 46-29 win over the Bulldogs, which comes as Cedarcrest continues to adjust to life without sophomore star Jaylin Yowell. More on that in a second.

The Red Wolves went 1-1 last week in their tournament over in Chelan, finishing as the runners-up. Still, though, it was a great experience for everyone, as every player saw playing time – and scored points – in their first game, with a lot of that we suspect in the title game as well.

The Wildcats are 3-7 overall and winless in league at 0-4. Still, though, CHS will have a challenge without Yowell, who remains out with a knee injury and could be out for the remainder of the season. As we discussed yesterday, she re-aggravated the injury over winter break and has had further complications since, according to head coach Brad Knowles, so the Red Wolves now need to figure out ways to win without their star sophomore.

Senior Miranda Wilson, who’s averaging around, we think, 13-14 points a game, will be the primary player to pay attention to, but Oak Harbor also has a couple of juniors in Jasmine Ford and Mikhaela Cortez, both of whom are probably averaging better than 10 a night as well, who could step up and provide a difference in this one for the Wildcats.

The Red Wolves used strong defense to post the win over Mount Vernon and we’d expect that again tonight. However, the key will be how players like Griffin fare as the team needs to identify go-to scoring in the wake of Yowell’s absence. Getting wins over teams like this can also be beneficial in their playoff situation, too, so look for the Red Wolves to make a strong push in this one. We like CHS in this one in a close one. Cedarcrest 55, Oak Harbor 51

Cedarcrest Red Wolves @ Oak Harbor Wildcats, Oak Harbor HS, 7:15 – Cedarcrest tonight will hop on a ferry just like old times within the former Cascade Conference and make a trip up to Whidbey Island. But instead of heading up the hill from the Clinton ferry dock to South Whidbey High School, coach Joe Ayers and his Red Wolve crew will go right past South Whidbey and up highways 525 and 20 all the way up to Oak Harbor to take on a Wildcat team that is struggling a bit in the conference this season.

Oak Harbor is 3-6 on the season and trailing the Red Wolves in Wesco, at 1-2 in league play. It is a senior-laden roster, with a lot of height; most of their roster is 6’0” or taller, so Cedarcrest will have to be mindful of the play inside and work to overcome the size and height of this Wildcat squad. 6’2” Austin Boesch and Kevin Schuldt provide strong post presence for Oak Harbor, so those two will be among the players CHS will be contending with in this one.

Look for the usuals to lead the way for the 7-2 Red Wolves, such as seniors Brennan LeBlanc and Chris Busch and junior Nicolo Cammarano. But keep an eye on junior Cameron Brady. He scored 12 points for CHS in their tournament title win last Friday over Chelan in the Chelan Invitational and earned our Athlete of the Week recognition on the strength of that effort.

Cedarcrest swept both of their tournament games over there and come in looking to make serious noise in the Wesco chase. They’ve already bagged a pair of bonus-point RPI league victories over 3A schools, so a win over a team like this OH one, who is trailing in the standings, can also be beneficial to the RPI ranking when that comes out perhaps next week for the first time. A win tonight could see the Red Wolves be in a position where they might be hosting an opening-round playoff game, and you know how important that will be for them to have out of the gate.

We like Cedarcrest here in this one. Cedarcrest 65, Oak Harbor 55

Mount Si Wildcats @ Woodinville Falcons, Woodinville HS, 8:15* (*Approximate start time; game will start 15-20 minutes after conclusion of the previous girls’ game): Mount Si and Woodinville re-start league play tonight with the Falcons likely viewing this as a game that could assert their position at the table in the postseason picture, while for the Wildcats, they look to get back on the right track after a strong showing over their winter break at their tournament.

Mount Si is 9-2 on the season and 5-0 in Kingco play and comes back off a very successful 3-1 trip down in southern California at last week’s Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational, a performance that earned them third in a very tough and prestigious top division of that tournament.

Juniors Jabe Mullins and Tyler Patterson lead the scoring; Mullins had 21 in their win down in California over Pebblebrook from suburban Atlanta last Thursday and is averaging around 19 points a game on the season. Patterson also dropped 21 in that win over the Georgia squad and is averaging around 16 a game. Both of them earned all-tournament recognition, but their senior teammate Jonny Barrett also made the all-tournament team down there according to head coach Jason Griffith because of his defense. And that is something we want to discuss a bit this morning.

We watched that game against Pebblebrook online last Thursday and can say that may have been the most fun your editor has had watching a Mount Si boys’ hoops team since, well, the 2006 state playoff game against West Valley of Spokane, that nail-biter down in the Tacoma Dome won by Mount Si by the low score of 41-39. Mount Si in the game against Pebblebrook last week had the lead from the outset and at one point extended that lead to as many as 15 points largely on the strength of their outside shooting and excellent competitiveness on the glass, of which Barrett was very much involved in.

You know, Barrett, he may be only averaging five points and five rebounds a game, but some of what he did down there last week might get a college basketball recruiter or two to send him a letter of interest. Yes, he’s going to sign a football scholarship, and it will likely be to the Ivy League, but do not count this young man out on the basketball floor. Especially tonight as he’ll likely have some personal scores to settle with Woodinville’s two top players, more on that in a moment.

The Falcons are 5-6 on the season but 3-2 in Crown Division play and do pose a challenge we expect for the Wildcats because they have some scoring depth to work with. Juniors Cage Schenck and Blake Glessner had tremendous success on the football field this past fall for the Falcons, helping them win the Kingco 4A Championship – over Mount Si as you all remember – and advance to state, and those two are again seeing success this winter on the hardwood. Schenck’s averaging around 20 points a game and Glessner’s doing okay himself, averaging around 15 a contest. Barrett’s going to see plenty of these two tonight, and you know he’s going to want to do to those two a lot of what he did to that Roosevelt ballhandler in the game in SoCal last Saturday, the play that we talked about earlier this week in our Athlete of the Week segment in which we recognized Barrett as our AotW this week. Steal the ball clean and set up Mullins and Patterson to do offensive damage.

Senior Josiah Bush, averaging also around we think 15 a game, provides leadership and a third scoring option for Woody as well, so Barrett might also be busy dealing with him.
Coming out of a great week in SoCal which has only served to raise the expectations a bit for Mount Si, tonight’s game serves we think as a possible “trap” game for the Wildcats. People will need to be on their “A” games out of the gate and not let off the gas. Barrett’s also going to need to lead the way defensively to shut down Schenck and Glessner in particular for Mount Si to have success. This one we think will be closer than it looks, but we do like the Wildcats in this one. Mount Si 60, Woodinville 56

Round 2 (December 14): 2-2 (Correctly picked both boys games, with us picking both Mount Si and Cedarcrest to win, which they both did, and did not correctly pick the two girls games, with us picking Marysville-Getchell to beat Cedarcrest and Mount Si to beat Newport; Cedarcrest and Newport won those games)
Season: 5-3

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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