SVSJ preview: Wildcat girls basketball looks to break through and make state for first time in 15 years

Mount Si’s girls basketball team may have lost two key players from last season’s successful team to graduation, but the Wildcats aren’t going to let that get in their way. A veteran group looks to lead Mount Si back into the postseason once again this season, with an eye on getting over the hump and making it to state for the first time in 15 years.

Seniors Jordan Riley (left), Alex Welsh (center) and Shelby Peerboom (right) look to lead Mount Si's girls' basketball team to state in 2011-12. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

Megan Botulinski is back for her third season at the helm as the Wildcat coach. She is looking for great things from the team, especially as it looks to fill the void left by the graduations of top scorer Hailey Eddings and post presence Haley Chase. “They have big shoes to fill, and they have a different style. Our girls this year have their own style, as they should. They’re a little bit more of a finesse team, a little bit more powerful. We have a bigger post presence and so, while they are filling those shoes from last year, they are doing that with their own style, their own character and their own grace,” Botulinski said.

That said, the coach adds it will take a lot of work for them to be competitive this season.”We’re comprised of mainly juniors and seniors, but we’re young in terms of varsity experience, so we’ve got to step up to that challenge (and) make sure that we’re really prepared and working hard every day when we’re coming to practice because there is that level of play that we’re going to have to adjust to,” Botulinski said.

That mostly veteran group will be anchored by their three seniors. Shelby Peerboom, Jordan Riley and Alex Welsh will look to lead this Mount Si team to places not seen in many years this season. Riley hopes fans are looking forward to what lies ahead.” I think they can expect a lot from us. We worked really hard this past summer and in fall ball and, I think we’re just ready to go out there and get some wins,” Riley said.

The consensus from the players is that Liberty and Lake Washington look to be among the best in the league, while Botulinski also looks for Mercer Island and Juanita to be in the discussion for the league title. That all said, Welsh thinks her team can stay with the big horses in Kingco this season. “I do think there’s a lot of good teams in Kingco that will match up well with us, but I do think we’ve been working way harder than those teams in the offseason and I think that’s going to really show,” she said. Added Riley, “Kingco is a very competitive league.”

Leadership will be a key aspect for all three seniors, and Riley is ready to provide it. “I just try to communicate with all my team members so everyone knows what’s going on all the time and lead by example as well and work hard every day,” she said. Riley is expected to be a key presence this fall, as she returns to action following a knee injury which forced her to miss most of last season. Botulinski is excited to have Riley back in the fold. “She’s worked really hard to get where she is and she is looking great,” the coach said.

Mount Si opens the season Friday, December 2, with a real big one out of the gate. Mercer Island is expected to be among the chief competitors for the league crown, and they are led by post Kris Brackmann, and are well coached, as their veteran coach, Jamie Prescott, older sister of former Wildcat star player Caitie Richards, returns this season. Peerboom hopes fans see the best from Mount Si. “I think they can expect us to come out hard and we’re going to be right up there with all the other teams,” Peerboom said.

That contest tips at 6:30 p.m., leading up to the boys game between those same two schools which will follow. Mount Si plays its first three games at home, then only has one home game between December 9 and January 11. The Wildcats will once again be playing in the Kingco/Wesco Challenge at Juanita High School over the holiday break, a tournament which returns for its second season and under the direction of Rebel coach, and local tournament promoter, Sam Lee, looks to be on the calendar for a long time, a great alternative for Kingco teams looking to save a little money in this tight economy.

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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