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Mercer Island girls lose 3A KingCo title to Bellevue | Prep girls basketball
After hanging around for three quarters in a game that saw shooting struggles from both teams, the Mercer Island girls basketball team lost to Bellevue 49-37 in the 3A KingCo tournament title game Thursday, Feb. 18 at Bellevue College.
Despite the shooting woes, Mercer Island was able to keep it close for much of the game.
"They played their hearts out," said assistant coach Austin Yuen of his team after the game. "We did everything we needed to do to give ourselves a chance to win it. We were there the entire game, and then at the end, it just kind of slipped away."
Defense reigned supreme in the game's opening quarter, as both teams struggled to hit their shots early. Three free throws by Bellevue put the Wolverines up 3-2 going into the second quarter. The offense woke up a bit in the second quarter, with a layup by Bellevue's Shelby Cansler putting the Wolverines ahead 15-12 heading into halftime.
Mercer Island outscored the Wolverines 15-14 to cut the deficit to two heading into the fourth quarter. But turnovers plagued the Islanders in the fourth, as Bellevue went on a 10-2 run to lead 39-29. A 3-pointer by Jess Blakeslee was quickly matched by a Bellevue. Another Mercer Island 3-pointer made it 42-35, but the threes stopped falling after that. Jess Blakeslee led the Islanders in scoring with 17 points, and also earned All KingCo first team honors after the game.
Yuen said it was a "grind it out kind of game," with neither team having its greatest offensive performance. He credited Bellevue for their aggressive play on the defensive end, saying a little more focus down the stretch could've helped the Islanders. "It just came down to doing little things. Mental lapses, taking a play off, not getting into the right offense, that's what ultimately hurt us."
Looking ahead to the Sea-King District tournament, Yuen said the Islanders will try to get back on track with some good, hard practices. But even though there's more basketball to be played, the KingCo tournament loss still stings.
"The girls wanted it, it hurts," he said. "Obviously we still get to play more basketball and that's a blessing right there. We get an opportunity to reach one of our next goals, to make the state tournament, but a KingCo championship was on our list of things we wanted to do, and it hurts every time you don't make it."
Mercer Island will take the 3A KingCo second seed in the Sea-King District tournament, and will take on the winner of the first round game between Eastside Catholic and West Seattle at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Ingraham High School.