SVSJ preview: Mount Si boys’ hoops enters new league looking to make noise with veteran group

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Valley high school winter sports preview series continues this morning as you get ready to eat some turkey later on today with a look at Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team.

Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball program is looking for success this winter in its inaugural campaign in Kingco 4A.

Back for his second season as coach after finishing 12-13 last season is Kyle Clearman. Clearman, who as a senior player for the Wildcats in 2006 guided Mount Si to its last appearance at the state tournament, likes what he sees out of his team this season.

“We should be pretty fun to watch this year,” Clearman said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can get up and down the court, lots of length, lots of athleticism. Not too much size, but what we lack in size we’re going to make up for in lots of hard work.”

Kyle Clearman (center), seen here instructing his players during a game last season, is back for his second season as Mount Si boys' basketball head coach. The Wildcats look to improve on a 12-13 finish in 2013-14. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Kyle Clearman (center), seen here instructing his players during a game last season, is back for his second season as Mount Si High School boys’ basketball head coach. The Wildcats look to improve on a 12-13 finish in 2013-14. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Mount Si returns a strong veteran corps of talent, led by senior Jonathan “Jo Jo” Hillel. Hillel is looking forward to a good season. “Senior year for basketball, too, so it’ll be an exciting one,” he said. Other players to watch include seniors Ryan Stewart and Ty Utley, and juniors Colton Swain and Parker Dumas. All except Utley are varsity returners this season, but Utley was in the program last season on the junior varsity squad.

Another key newcomer to keep an eye on is junior Ryan Fischer. Clearman expects a lot out of Fischer this season. “Lots of energy. A good shooter and he’s worked really hard in the offseason to get where he’s at now,” Clearman said. Look for Fischer to see his work at the shooting guard position. Also, fellow junior Danny Tomson should see plenty of action this season as well for Mount Si, as he also has varsity experience from last season.

Clearman is emphasizing defense this fall, but in a different way. “This year, we have a huge focus every single day in practice on deflections,” he said.”We’re big on defensive positioning. If we get steals, great, but we want to get our hands in the passing lanes and we want to get out and run transition.”

In terms of the league, Clearman is not familiar enough with how the team looks to make an accurate assessment of things, but the teams we think that will be worth watching are Issaquah and Bothell. The Eagles made the state 4A semifinals last season, and Bothell is a perennial tough customer under coach Ron Bollinger. NBA player Zach LaVine, playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, graduated from BHS several years ago.

Clearman, though, does expect one thing. “The biggest thing that I think’s going to happen is more consistency. It’s going to be a grind every night,” he said. Stewart added, “I think we’re ready to compete with everybody.”

Outside of the Kingco schedule, Mount Si has one nonleague home game, and that’s coming up this coming Tuesday, December 2. It’s a date with the Cedarcrest Red Wolves for the Valley Cup. The team also will be competing in a holiday tournament, but instead of going to the sunshine of California or Arizona this winter, it’s to the high altitude, and likely snow, of Bend, OR, for the Les Schwab Holiday Classic. Stewart’s excited. “It will be (fun). Last year down in Arizona (was) probably the (best) time we had,” he said.

Clearman wants fans to look for a strong brand of basketball each night the team plays. “One of the things that we preach in practice is if we’re talking about effort, then we’re losing. So the main thing that fans can expect is a group of really tough kids that are there to play defense, (that are) there for each other, (a) very selfless group. They give it everything they’ve got,” he said. “It should be fun, in your face, tough basketball.”

Mount Si fans can get their first look at what to expect this season this weekend. Saturday, they host a jamboree which is a re-run of the one from last year. Both Overlake and Tahoma, who competed in last year’s event, are back, and it should be another fun day in the gym. The Owls once again are coached this season by veteran coach, and Mount Si grad, Justin Prohn (full disclosure, a friend and fellow grad of your editor). The activities start at 10am on Saturday morning and should run through around 1:30 or so in the afternoon. Everything takes place at Mount Si High School, 8651 Meadowbrook Way SE in Snoqualmie, and the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal will be there to provide coverage.

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.