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Girls, hoop fall apart against Mount Si
Battling to score points during the third quarter, Islander Hannah Lilly charged hard to the hoop. Her shot, which was deflected by a Mount Si player, hit the bottom of the back board, knocking off a duct-taped piece of protective foam.
The broken hoop was indicative of the third quarter as Mercer Island fell apart in an important contest. Mount Si’s 17-2 run in the second half led it to the win 68-52 at Mercer Island High School, Friday.
The loss came as a big blow to the Islanders’ post-season hopes, falling behind the Cats in the KingCo standings and no longer holding the tie-breaker between the two teams.
The loss has backed Mercer Island into a corner.
“We need an upset from now until the end of the season, or we will meet them again in a tie-breaker,” said Islander sophomore Hannah Lilly. “Losing this game is tough.”
The Wildcats were sparked by the memory of a last-second-shot loss to the Islanders earlier this year, the first loss to Mercer Island in nearly five years.
Mercer Island held a 4-2 lead to start the game, but an 18-4 run by the Cats quieted any home-court advantage by the Islanders.
Mercer Island would rebound during the second quarter, literally. A 17-5 advantage on the boards gave the Islanders the opening they needed. Both Lilly and DaPron hit the boards for five rebounds each during the quarter, as Mercer Island went on a 14-4 run. The tandem filled the void left by the loss of Islander forward Sarah Taylor to an ankle injury earlier in the week.
“It did hurt us to have one less player in the post,” said DaPron. “The entire team had to step up.”
Islander Janelle Chow provided the offense with seven unanswered points during the quarter, getting her team back within one point just before half.
With sisters Jamie Prescott and Beth Richards coaching for the Islanders, another Prescott sister sank the Islanders focus and confidence.
Although Wildcat Caitie Richards led all scorers with 22 points during the game, her buzzer-beating three-pointer just before halftime seemed to destroy the Islanders’ confidence.
“We battled all the way back and then to have her hit that three,” said Lilly, “it is hard to get that focus back.”
Mercer Island had nothing to give to open the second half. The 17-2 run by the Cats was only broken up by Islander Holland Fleming’s basket in the key.
Mercer Island would finish the quarter with 12 points but the damage was done. Chow led all Islander scorers with 18 points, while Lilly finished with 10 rebounds and 13 points.
The loss to Mount Si and Taylor’s injury weren’t the only hits the Islanders took last week. Lilly’s game-high 26 points was not enough against Issaquah, as Mercer Island lost 65-56 despite being down by just five points at the start of the final quarter.
Mercer Island is now one game behind Mount Si for the final playoff spot in KingCo with a record of 4-7 in league play. The Islanders’ next league game will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, when they host Liberty.