SVSJ preview: The expectations are high for Mount Si boys’ hoops, who hope to deliver the school’s first hoops state title since 1977

EDITOR’S NOTE: Before you all head out to shop and drop, we have for you a preview of what perhaps will be the most anticipated Mount Si High School boys’ basketball season in over 40 years.

Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team practices Wednesday in advance of the 2019-20 season, which is the most anticipated season for the team since they won the state title in 1977. They are the preseason top-ranked team in the 4A Washington state rankings according to Scorebook Live, a Seattle-based high school sports website. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

Many of you by now are well aware of the high expectations for Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball program this season. Coming off a runner-up finish at the WIAA 4A’s state boys’ basketball tournament in March for their best finish as a program in over 40 years, the Wildcats come into this season with everyone around the state pretty much labeling them as the favorites to win it all for the first time since they won it back in 1977. Scorebook Live, a Seattle-based high school sports website, ranks Mount Si as its preseason number one in 4A, and this team is definitely worthy of it.

“We’ve been talking about what the state’s going to think of us since March so we know,” said head coach Jason Griffith, back for his fourth season with the program. “We know the expectations, the rankings.” He added, “It’s all about what we do today and tomorrow.”

A lot of the attention surrounding the program centers on their two top scorers, senior returners Tyler Patterson and Jabe Mullins, both of whom have signed college scholarship letters of intent – Patterson with Montana State University and Mullins with St. Mary’s College of California, both top NCAA Division I schools. But the glue of this team will be different.

With the graduations of seniors Jonny Barrett and Brett Williams from last year’s state runner-up squad, a team that finished 26-3, a void needed to be filled defensively in particular, and that void is expected to be filled by senior Hayden Curtiss. Sophomore teammate Bennett “B” O’Connor expects Curtiss to be a big key to the Wildcats’ success. “He’s really tall,” O’Connor said. “He’s going to help us in the post, he’s going to be another scorer for us, a shot blocker. He’s going to help us all around.”

Curtiss knows his team has to prove itself on the floor. “I think we’ve just got to come out and support our number one ranking. We’ve got to show everyone why we’ve got that,” he said. And he should know – another reason why there’s so much attention this fall and winter on Mount Si is the very successful offseason they just had, with strong finishes in summer events in Oregon and Phoenix, and the Bellevue College’s fall league.

Curtiss was a very big part of that, too, especially over the summer. “He had a really good June and he just started gaining more confidence throughout the entire month,” Griffith said. “When we competed down at Section 7 (the tournament they participated in down in Phoenix in June) he made a name for himself among some schools that are looking at him as a potential kid that they can recruit.”

With the high expectations comes the challenges of getting every team’s best shot. Kingco’s not expected to be an easy chore, either, with Issaquah and Bothell possibly being teams to watch this season in the league. “We’ve got good players, good leadership, they’re poised and they understand what that entails,” Griffith said.

This, of course, is the first season for the boys’ hoops program inside the new MSHS gymnasium. And the new digs have received rave reviews, not just from Griffith, but from a number of high-profile visitors – college head coaches, many of them from NCAA Division I schools in having a look at potential recruits. “I would just say in general it’s the best facility in the state. That is in a nutshell. We had multiple head coaches come through here in September and say it was the best facility they had ever seen when they’ve recruited kids and we’ve had multiple head coaches come through here and say it was the best weight room they have ever seen for a high school,” Griffith said. “We had one (college) coach say it was a better facility than what they have.”

The Mount Si head man added, “I think we’re very fortunate, we’re very lucky. I don’t take it for granted.”

The Wildcats’ schedule looks like this. It opens next Saturday, December 7, on a rather big stage – the Moda Center in Portland, where the NBA’s Trail Blazers play. Mount Si will be meeting Churchill High School from the Portland area. The following Saturday, December 14, the Wildcats open their home schedule – and their new home digs – meeting Union High School from Clark County, with those two games sandwiching their Kingco opener, at Redmond on December 10. They’re back in Palm Springs once again at the holiday tournament down there over the winter break, competing in the same top division they competed in last year. Additionally, they’re back in the MLK holiday event in January down in Kent, facing King’s, with Senior Night taking place February 4 against North Creek.

Game times for all games are at Mount Si’s boys’ hoops website, linked at right in our news links.

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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