Mount Si boys use defense to shut down Bothell in potential Kingco 4A title game preview

Mount Si High School boys’ basketball player Tyler Patterson (right) attempts a jump-shot towards the basket during last night’s Wildcat boys’ basketball game with Bothell. The shot went in for two of the junior’s 21 points as Mount Si beat the Cougars. Teammates Jabe Mullins (left) and Bennett O’Connor (right) are in foreground and fellow Wildcat Jonny Barrett (upper center left) is in the background. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

Coming into this season, the Bothell Cougars were seen as a chief competitor for the Kingco 4A championship that Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team is working hard to achieve in this 2018-19 campaign, so last night’s head-to-head matchup at Mount Si High School between the Wildcats and Cougars looked to be a preview of a potential championship matchup. Well, Bothell’s had a bit of a down year, so those expectations have been reduced a bit. After last night, those expectations may have been reduced even further, as Mount Si used a strong third quarter defensive push to score a more dominant victory over the Cougars than perhaps had been expected at the beginning of the year.

Jabe Mullins scored 24 points and the Wildcat defense held a very strong, athletic Bothell team to just two points in the third, securing a 69-34 win over the Cougars that kept Mount Si unbeaten in league play.

“We were really pleased with our effort in the third quarter,” said Wildcat head Coach Jason Griffith. “We talked about it at halftime, we thought we got a little complacent in the second quarter.” The coach continued, “The guys dug deep in the third quarter, focused up defensively, executed well and held them to two points in the third.”

Defense has been a big point of emphasis for this Mount Si team, and it has especially been evident since their games over the winter break in southern California, in which they used solid defense and rebounding to go 3-1 at the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational, including a win over national power Pebblebrook of suburban Atlanta, GA. “We feel like that’s going to separate us from a lot of teams,” Griffith said. “We’re continuing to preach it, kids are continuing to get better at it.” The coach added, “Our goal is to be the best defensive team in the league.”

Mullins was also pleased with the defensive performance. “Just some great defense overall to hold that team to 34 (points),” the junior said.

One of the big factors in that defensive success has been senior Jonny Barrett. He scored 11 points in the contest, but once again he was very active defensively. He understands his role and is playing it well. “We have really good scorers on offense and I know my role as a player,” Barrett said. “I’m not the best scorer so I let them do the scoring. I let myself do the defense.”

The win over Pebblebrook in particular at the California tournament combined with last night’s win over the very solid Cougar crew only enhances the expectations for overall success for this team. That has brought a lot of attention, with regards to rankings, tournament predictions, RPI numbers, the whole bit. Those of you who follow our Twitter feed at @snovalleysports know about all this. While it’s good fodder for the parents and other adults in the room, the challenge moving forward for the players, one the coaching staff will have to tackle, is making sure that they keep focused on the task at hand.

“We just preach that they have done nothing,” Griffith said. “At the end of the day we haven’t won a Kingco championship, we haven’t gone to the Tacoma Dome, so our goal is to keep getting better so we can achieve those bigger goals.”

Mount Si continues its home schedule Friday, hosting Eastlake in a key Crest Division clash. But the Wildcats will be keeping things in perspective at the same time. In addition to looking to maintain their unbeaten league record, Mount Si will be going to bat for a fellow student. Freshman Ryan Gerlitz, whose name you’ve probably seen here in our summer youth baseball coverage in the past couple of years, has been a successful athlete, but he’s now fighting a bigger battle. He’s battling cancer. The program will be recognizing him at the game Friday, and showing him and his family an entire school and community are behind them. Tyler Patterson, who scored 21 points to pace Mount Si last night, feels their support of Gerlitz helps them keep their expectations in check. “It’s just another thing to bring us closer,” he said. “It keeps us humble.”

“Our program decided to support him and his family and we hope the whole community comes out,” Griffith said. “We just want to play for him and help him get through this,” Mullins said.

Game time is approximately 8:10 p.m. after the conclusion of the previous girls’ game.

Girls: CHS senior captain Sweney delivers big game to lead Red Wolves to comeback win
Senior captain Cassidy Sweney did what senior captains do last night for Cedarcrest High School’s girls’ basketball team: lead. And do so by example.

Sweney scored a game-high 16 points for Cedarcrest, and backed that up with solid defense and ball handling, aiding the Red Wolves, who trailed twice in the contest but ultimately had enough in the tank to escape with a huge 47-44 road win over Everett last night at Everett High School, another win over a 3A team in Wesco play that will enhance CHS’s strong Northwest District 2A RPI ranking.

“This was a real ebb and flow kind of game, one that will make us better,” said Cedarcrest Coach Brad Knowles by email to the SVSJ. Cedarcrest trailed after one 13-6, but shut down the Seagulls in the second quarter, limiting Everett to just six points as the Red Wolves rallied to take a 26-19 halftime lead. The Seagulls broke out of the gate big with a 9-0 run to start the second half before Cedarcrest settled down and let Sweney and her freshman teammate – and co-Athlete of the Week this week – Kat Townley do the heavy lifting. Townley herself had 12 points pacing the Red Wolves.

Knowles was complementary of Sweney. Noting this was her best game ever in a Cedarcrest uniform, the coach told us, “So great to see her have an outstanding game like this.”

Cedarcrest is back home tomorrow in Duvall hosting Stanwood. 7:15 pm tip at Cedarcrest High School, 29000 NE 150th St., then they play Marysville-Pilchuck Friday.

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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