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Girls to meet top seed at regionals | Prep girls basketball
With a regional berth already secured, the Mercer Island girls basketball team were playing for the third seed in their matchup with Bishop Blanchet Saturday, Feb. 22 at Bellevue College. Despite coming back from a fourteen-point first-half deficit, the rally was cut short, as the Islanders lost to the Braves 57-51, giving the Islanders the fourth seed out of the 3A district 2 tournament.
“I think we’re a little bit mentally drained,” assistant coach Austin Yuen said after the game. “It’s been a long week, three games in a week, some tough games. You want to bounce back from a loss with a win and carry some momentum into the next game. They worked their butts off today.”
Mercer Island struggled to find its shot early, down 8-0 in the first quarter before a basket by Jamie Mounger put the Islanders on the board. Mercer Island closed the gap to 12-8 before Bishop Blanchet scored six unanswered points to close the quarter up ten. The Braves began to pull away early in the second quarter, leading 24-10, but a Mercer Island rally cut the deficit to 25-17. The Islanders had a scary moment during the quarter when Maddie Salvino went down with a knee injury with three minutes to go in the first half, but the Islanders continued to rally, going on a 10-1 run to trail 28-27 heading into halftime.
Mercer Island took its first lead of the game in the third quarter, with 6 points from Julia Blumenstein giving the Islanders a 34-33 lead. But Bishop Blanchet answered right back, closing out the quarter ahead 42-37. The Islanders were able to whittle the lead down to two early in the fourth quarter and trailed 51-48 after a basket by Jess Blakeslee with under three minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get. Mounger led the Islanders in scoring with 10 points, while Blakeslee contributed 8 points and Blumenstein and Ari Moscatel each had 7 points for Mercer Island.
Despite the loss, Yuen said the Islanders are feeling good about their position. “The main thing was taking care of Tuesday’s game and guaranteeing us a spot in that regional,” he said. “It’s the playoffs, it’s the top 16 teams moving on. Every time you’re playing a game, you’re going to be playing somebody good. We know its going to be a tough road, but we get a nice long week to prepare and game plan around that. We have some time to get kids refreshed, deal with injuries, rest and heal and refresh our minds a little bit.”
The Mercer Island girls drew district 1 top seed Glacer Peak and will take on Glacier Peak at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at Everett Community College. The Grizzlies escaped Mountlake Terrace 53-53 in their district title game and have an overall record of 22-2.