SVSJ preview: Wildcat girls’ hoops could be in for a challenging season ahead, with a lot of youth

EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue our series of Valley high school fall sports previews today with a look at Mount Si High School’s girls’ basketball team.

Mount Si’s girls’ basketball team struggled last season, finishing 7-14 overall and 4-10 in league, and the Wildcats could be in for another tough winter this season.

This year’s team has a “green” streak to it, according to coach Megan Botulinski, back for her fifth season at the helm. “We’re definitely young. We have a lot of youth on our team,” she said. One of the main themes thus far to start the season is getting the Wildcats united as one. “We’re working on team dynamics right now. With a lot of new kiddos, we have to learn how to play together,” Botulinski said, but the process is made easier by players willing to learn. “This is a very, very coachable group,” she said.

The top returners are both juniors. Elizabeth Prewitt and Madi Bevens both will look to lead this freshman and sophomore-laden group this winter. Prewitt is excited. “Even though we’re young, we work really hard and we work really well together,” she said. As for Bevens, “We’re going to come out strong and we’re going to give it our all,” she said.

Seniors Kylie McLaughlin and Sally Nelson will also look to aid the Wildcat efforts this season. It’s the freshmen, though, that are headlining things, with perhaps two on varsity and a lot more on the JV team this season. Among those freshmen to watch will be Mady Privatsky, who was on the inaugural Mount Si girls’ swim team this fall.

Botulinski expects things will improve as the season wears on. “Once we get through some of these growing pains at the beginning of our practices here and we get used to playing together in our different styles, I think you’re going to see a lot of real fun, competitive basketball,” she said. And the coach notes that the team is working hard, but dedicated to improvements every day. “This is an extremely coachable group. They’re very polite to all of the coaches,” Botulinski said. “Even though they’re going hard at practice and it looks like they’re out for blood, when they walk off the court, they’re still friends.”

One issue that is expected to perhaps be a challenge for Mount Si is one that could be a challenge for all teams. Referees this season have been instructed by the National Federation of High School Associations, the national high school sports governing body, to be more aggressive about calling what is known as “illegal contact” as a foul. The NFHS, in its basketball rules points of emphasis on its website for this season, describes it as this: “When contact occurs that affects the rhythm, speed, quickness and balance of the player, illegal contact has occurred. When illegal contact occurs, fouls must be called. Officials must not refrain from calling these type of actions that create an advantage for the opponent. Illegal contact must be called regardless of time and score.”

Botulinski told the SVSJ that in a conversation she recently had with an official, the official noted that in some recent fall league games, his crew called approximately 50 fouls. This emphasis on curbing illegal contact could result in foul-filled, very lengthy basketball games this season.

Bellevue is expected to be the team to beat within Kingco this season, although Mercer Island and Juanita look to also be in the title hunt. With a very young group, Mount Si is expected have its hands full with most teams this season, but as the season wears on, that could change. That all said, Bevens says the team has to be ready for anyone, anytime. “You have to treat every team the same; go out and give it 100%, no matter what team you’re playing,” she said.

Mount Si opens the season next Wednesday at home with Skyline, a team that could become a future league opponent should MSHS end up in Kingco 4A next season, which appears very likely. They also host Cedarcrest December 14 for another crack at the Valley Cup, and considering the Red Wolves’ historic success last season, this could be a great test for this Mount Si group. Prewitt thinks the sky could be the limit for her team. “I feel like if we keep working the way we’re working and we keep making the strides to improve when we want to improve, I feel like we can go pretty far,” she said.

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.
This entry was posted in Basketball, Previews. Bookmark the permalink.