The Mercer Island boys basketball team's season came to an end on Saturday, Feb. 23 with a regional loss to Timberline. The Islanders fell 56-55 to the Blazers at Mt. Tahoma High School.
"There is a tough lesson we learned about life this year: Sometimes it's just not fair," said Mercer Island head coach Gavin Cree. "Our team did everything the right way all year long. This helped us to accomplish many of our goals, but ultimately one of our final goals (to get to the Dome) slipped away from us. We were literally centimeters away from reaching that goal."
Cree said the team did everything right, prepared well and were focused on and off the court and stayed dedicated which helped the team accomplish everything it did this season.
"Our seniors must remember that none of these characteristics were wasted, just because we didn't get to the Dome," said the coach. "We never would have been in our position if we hadn't embodied those wonderful characteristics all year. Just because we fell short of one or our goals, shouldn't make us question our approach. We are a championship team. We put up a 24th Kingco banner for the first time since 2008. We won the Kingco tournament and we ranked in the top 5 for most of the year in every poll in the state. We just didn't have luck on our side against Timberline."
Against the Blazers, Timberline started the game ahead, up 14-12 at the end of the first quarter, but Mercer Island outscored the Blazers in the second quarter 16-8 to lead 28-22 at halftime.
After the break, the Blazers were hot in the third quarter, scoring 15, while holding the Islanders to just nine on the court. In a tight fourth quarter, Mercer Island missed a few key shots, ending the game down by one.
Timberline's Donaven Dorsey scored 27 points in the game, while the team high for Mercer Island went to Nick Nordale with 16 points. Espen Platou had 12 points, while Joe Rasmussen had nine, as did Kaleb Warner. Jake Shaddle scored three points, along with Will Taylor.
"We missed so many shots that we were capable of making, really for the whole 32 minutes," said the coach. "The first half was littered with missed opportunities, shots that went in and out and tough bounces. Sometimes, you have to be good and lucky in order to reach those lofty goals. I think we were pretty good on Saturday, but we certainly weren't very lucky. One more inch and that last shot by Joe (Rasmussen) goes down and we are celebrating. That's sports for you! We have to hold our heads high."
The Islanders, regular season and KingCo tournament championships, finished with a 22-4 overall record.