SVSJ preview: Familiar name back to coach Mount Si’s boys’ basketball team this season as it looks to contend in tough Kingco 3A

EDITOR’S NOTE: We wrap up our series of Valley high school team previews today with a look at Mount Si High School boys’ basketball.

The Mount Si boys’ basketball program went through some change in the offseason, as the team brought aboard a new head coach following the resignation of former coach Steve Helm. But that new coach is no stranger to the Wildcat uniform, as he helped lead scarlet and gray to its most recent state appearance back in 2006.

Kyle Clearman, an assistant on Helm’s staff last season who was the head coach of the Mount Si junior varsity, was promoted this spring to the head varsity job, and he is excited to be back. “It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Clearman said. “I definitely feel blessed to be back here and put in a situation to be back at my alma mater and be an influence on these kids and try to make this year special for everybody here.” And the Mount Si team that Clearman inherits will be a group that, while it’s a bit young, it’s a team that will compete. “We’re going to be a tough team. We’ve had great practices the first week and a half here,” the coach said. “We’ll get up and down, we’ll be able to do some really cool things offensively and we’re just going to work hard.”

There is a core group of returning seniors that will lead the Wildcats on the floor this season, and that crew is led by two-sport star Beau Shain. Shain anticipates his coach’s state tournament experience will rub off on the players. “Well, definitely, he knows what he’s doing and he’s been there, so he knows what it takes and he’s working us very hard,” Shain said.

Other seniors to watch include Tyler McCreadie, Justin McLaughlin and Jack Nelson. Sophomore Parker Dumas also returns and will be a player to watch. Newcomers of note include junior Jonathan “Jo Jo” Hillel.

Kingco 3A looks to be once again a tough league to tame, with Bellevue and Mercer Island the likely teams to beat if Mount Si wants to win the league title. Clearman, though, wants his team to focus on the things they can control. “I just expect us to go out and compete with everybody in this league every week,” he said.

An element of play that will bear watching is how tight games will be officiated this season. As we mentioned for you in our MSHS girls’ hoops preview, a directive has been issued by the National Federation of High School Associations, the national high school sports governing body to officials to be more aggressive about calling what is known as “illegal contact,” which the federation, in a bulletin on its website, defines as,” 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.”

So how does Clearman expect this to affect his team? “It’s the same as any other year, you got to adjust to the way the officials are calling the game,” he said. “Since it’s a point of emphasis we definitely just have to play our game and not let the officials get to us mentally.” So it will be interesting to see if the emphasis on this will impact the Wildcats.

Clearman’s coaching staff also is relatively new, with assistant Ryan Aker, who will coach the C-team this season, the only returning member. Among the newcomers to the staff is another familiar name. Dillon Shain, Beau’s older brother and himself a former Mount Si player, having graduated from MSHS just a couple of years ago, will be on the staff. Beau’s excited, to be sure. “I think it’ll be fun. More time that I get to spend with him,” he said. “Hopefully we get along.”

That family aspect will be a big theme for sure this season, as it was during that state run that Clearman was a part of in 2006 under former coach Garrick Phillips. During the tournament, Phillips’ parents came over from Spokane to attend games, and their support was tremendous. Clearman will have that very much evident in the stands this season, as his parents, North Bend residents Steve and Tricia Clearman, will probably be a presence at most, if not all, home games, just as they did when Kyle played for Mount Si and last season with him as the JV coach.

“It’s huge,” the coach said. “Obviously everyone needs to have a support team around them and I feel blessed and lucky to have them still around here in the Valley and they came to every one of my games as a player and I’m sure they’ll love to come see me coach and that’s pretty cool.”

Clearman is ready for the ride. “We’re going to go as far as our hard work can take us,” he said.

Mount Si will hold a preseason jamboree today at the school, from noon to 3:00 p.m., then host its regular season home opener against Mercer Island December 14. The Wildcats then will not be back home until after the new year, when they play what may be the first-ever game for the boys against a team from Australia January 3. Mount Si heads up to Cedarcrest to play the Red Wolves for the Valley Cup on December 21.

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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