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Mercer Island boys basketball | Winter sports previews
Coach: Gavin Cree
Number of athletes: 47
Last season: The Islanders advanced to the state regional tournament, after earning the No. 5 seed out of the district tournament. The team has a 21-9 record.
Strengths: “We have a really good shooting team, and Joe Rasmussen inside,” said head coach Gavin Cree. “I think we have a good inside-out game. I think that we have to be more exception-oriented than we were last year. I think last year’s team was a little more athletic, but I like this year’s team’s attention to detail. I think we need to play to that strength and really execute and understand what we’re doing and being committed to be efficient on both ends of the floor.”
Focus: “We’re always kind of doing the same things, but we’re trying to teach right now,” said Cree. “We lost quite a few seniors — we had six seniors graduate last year. They all played a significant role; five of the six played a significant role. We have new guys at practice who are learning different points of emphasis. We’re trying to play fast. I think we’re always trying to do that — get the ball up the court quick and not allow the defense to set up.”
“We have some threats on offense and working on our defense,” said captain Nick Nordale.
Captains: Seniors Nick Nordale and Joe Rasmussen
“These two guys, it should be noted, are really great, great leaders — the best leadership that I’ve been a part of here in terms of two captains. I’ve been here for nine years and they’ve been the best,” said the coach.
Game to watch: Bellevue, Mount Si, Bellarmine Prep
“Bellevue is always our big rival. They have a good team this year,” said Cree. “They have four or five starters back — we should be very competitive with them. Mount Si is a very good team this year. They have some players coming off injuries from last year, two very good players who didn’t play last year. We’re going to Arizona for a holiday tournament and playing some really tough competition. We’re also playing Bell Prep that’s a top five team, but we’re playing down there. They are going to be a state title contender in 4A. We have a tough schedule.”
Both captains said they are excited for the usual suspects in KingCo, such as Bellevue and Mount Si, as well as the chance to play Bellarmine Prep.