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State run ends at quarterfinals for Islander girls | Prep girls basketball
Sometimes, the shots just don’t fall. But even when the shots weren’t falling, the Mercer Island girls never gave up.
After fighting its way back from an early 11-0 deficit, the Mercer Island girls basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 48-41 loss to Spokane’s University High School in the consolation round of the 3A state girls basketball tournament Friday, March 7 at the Tacoma Dome.
Despite trailing the Titans by double digits early in the first quarter, the Islanders rallied back to trail 24-19 at the half. Mercer Island managed to take a one-point lead in the third quarter, but weren’t able to hold on as the Titans took back the lead for good. Taylor Krause led the Islanders in scoring with 9 points, while Julia Blumenstein had 8, Renae Tessem had 6 and Ari Moscatel pitched in 5 points for Mercer Island.
Mercer Island began its tournament run the previous night against Wilson High School, a team the Islanders also faced in last year’s state tournament.
It was a defensive battle in the first quarter with both teams struggling from the field. Despite its shooting struggles, the Islanders managed to keep up with the Rams, down 9-7 after one. But Mercer Island’s shooting woes continued into the second, as Wilson’s lead grew to twelve while the Rams’ defense held the Islanders scoreless for most of the second quarter. A basket by Renae Tessem made it 19-9 with under two minutes to go in the half, and a 3-pointer from Jess Blakeslee left the Islanders trailing 22-12 at halftime.
The Islanders opened the third quarter drawing fouls and getting to the line, with Julia Blumenstein knocking down four free throws and Blakeslee sinking another two to cut the deficit to six. A 3-pointer from Blakeslee capped a 9-2 run, bringing the score to 24-21. But Wilson responded with 10 points coming from freshman Josie Matz, as the Rams closed out the quarter with 13 unanswered points. Mercer Island wouldn’t get any closer, as Wilson pulled away for the win. Matz had a game-high 25 points, while Blakeslee led the Islanders in scoring with 11 points and Blumenstein pitched in 8. As a team, Mercer Island shot 12.7% from the field, while Wilson hit 32.3% of its shots.
The Islanders were without head coach Kaela Yuen for the last five games of its season, dating back to the Sea-King district tournament. Yuen had a baby Sunday, March 2.
Mercer Island finished the season tied for third with Bellevue in the KingCo standings, with a KingCo record of 10-4 and an overall record of 16-12.