Four times Mount Si’s boys have played Skyline, and the question is, will it be four times the ‘Cats have beaten the Spartans? Our thoughts on perhaps the most important game of this season for both teams…with all the marbles on the line!

Well, it’s a big night tonight for Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team, a night that could define this program for years to come. Will they get their chance to get the state title that escaped their grasp last March or will this team’s expectations and dreams go unfulfilled? Winnter to state, loser is done. Mount Si. Skyline. For all the marbles.

KINGCO 4A BOYS BASKETBALL
WESKING 4A TOURNAMENT – WINNER TO STATE, LOSER OUT
MOUNT SI WILDCATS VS. SKYLINE SPARTANS
JACKSON HS, MILL CREEK – 7:00 – STSPN VIA YOUTUBE BELOW: (FREE TO VIEW)

Normally, we would start out a preview by mentioning the nuts and bolts, but these teams have played each other three times already with tonight’s being their fourth of the season. So everyone knows the players to watch. Kauner Pryzbylski for Skyline. Jabe Mullins, Tyler Patterson and Bennett “B” O’Connor among others for the Wildcats. You also know that all three matchups for the most part have been very competitive this season, so this Spartans team knows it can hang with the Wildcats.

And that’s what we will focus on today is talking about the intangibles of the matchup at hand. It is one thing to beat a team three times in a season and that’s what this Mount Si squad has done with the Spartans. But if you remember following the Kingco semifinal win over Inglemoor that put the Wildcats against Skyline in the Kingco tournament final earlier this month, Mount Si head coach Jason Griffith had nothing but praise for the Spartans. “They’re a good basketball team,” said Griffith. “They’re (17-7) for a reason. They’ve beaten some of the better teams in the state so I like the matchup, but we know that we need to come out and play the right way.” Well, same situation exists tonight for this Mount Si group.

Trying to beat a team, especially a solid one such as Skyline, four times in a season is no easy task. And the truth be told, the Spartans, led by head coach Gordon Kaplan, have had a good campaign playing and beating some good teams – teams such as Bellevue, Woodinville, California’s Foothill. Pryzbylski continues to average around 16-18 a game so that’s the guy you stop if you’re Mount Si. But the challenge of doing this for the fourth time has to be front and center for this Wildcat group. Because at some point, Skyline knows that it will beat this team, somehow, some way.

This Mount Si program has had a remarkable two years, both on and off this basketball floor. It started in November 2018 with the squad helping the less fortunate over in Spokane and serving the homeless meals inside a soup kitchen, and continued through that season with tremendous success after tremendous success. Beating Pebblebrook, from suburban Atlanta at the Rancho Mirage tournament over the 2018 holiday break was arguably their best win in nearly 15 years – since their 2006 3A state tournament triumphs over Franklin Pierce and West Valley of Spokane. But that win was eclipsed by their run at the 4A state tournament last year, as they beat Puyallup, Curtis and Richland to make the finals, falling short to Gonzaga Prep. Advance on to June of last year and their success in their summer tournament in Arizona and the emergence of Hayden Curtiss at that event.

Then this season, rebounding from their loss to state title contender Union at the beginning of the campaign to notch more success. Rancho Mirage and winning the title this time, making history in doing so. Going undefeated in the Kingco regular season and winning that tournament title. And one thing about this team these past two years that has been especially remarkable – every time they faced adversity, whether it was last season when snow delayed their opening round playoff game by a day, or this year, losing to the Titans or Capital Christian from Sacramento down at Rancho Mirage or to Woodinville in the WesKing district quarterfinals just last Saturday among other examples, this team has responded. And they’ll need to do that again tonight, just like they did on Tuesday when all their starters scored in double figures, led by the Montana State-bound Patterson’s 17 in their win over Mariner that put them into the game tonight.

Tonight is a night that needs Patterson and Mullins, signed with St. Mary’s, to show the world why they were recruited by, and signed by, NCAA Division I colleges to play hoops for them next season. Tonight is a night that needs Patterson and Mullins to do something that Major League Baseball’s commissioner with regards to their current scandal involving sign-stealing by one of their teams against other teams is unwilling to do: lead. Lead by example. Lead by doing.

Tonight is a night that needs Curtiss to establish himself as a great late pickup for a Division II or Division III school as a walk-on post player. Tonight is a night that needs “B” and Tyler’s brother Quin to further their cases for why they should also be D-I recruits when the time comes. Tonight is a night that needs Jack Williams to step up and provide quality minutes off the bench to help keep his teammates’ legs fresh. Tonight is a night that needs Tyler Clem, Parker Wutherich, Kevin Cole, Zach Soliday, Miles Heide, Drew Hiddleson, Burke Benham and other reserves to provide leadership on that bench and learn what it takes to win. A lot of these guys play other sports at Mount Si – Wutherich and Clem with baseball, Soliday with football for example – so seeing how hard it is to get to that promised land can help provide those guys the needed leadership to help their teammates in the other sports achieve that same destiny.

Tonight is a night that needs Griffith, who frankly is the best coach in this Kingco 4A at the moment – and that’s saying a lot because the jobs of some of the other coaches in this league this season, namely Kaplan, the Falcons’ Kurtis Melton and Inglemoor’s Greg Lowell this postseason following the Vikings’ Kingco semifinal loss, have been just as solid – to once again deliver a great game plan and lead his players to success. Tonight is a night that needs Griffith’s coaching staff – assistants Cole Westover, C.J. Stanford and Brad Knowles – to also do what they can to help this team succeed.

Tonight, folks, is a night that just needs a little scarlet and gray to be painted on the green and white floor up at Jackson High School in Mill Creek, and for a little scarlet and gray love to be broadcast all over the web. Will they get it done, though? Three times is saying something. Four times is a big ask. Damn, wouldn’t we love it for Mount Si to break out strong tonight like they did against Inglemoor in that semifinal game in the Kingco tournament. It’s been a couple weeks since that happened, these boys are due. Take Wildcats and off to regionals next weekend.

MOUNT SI 65, SKYLINE 55

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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