Boys basketball hammers Newport

Coming off their good showing in the Desert Heat Invitational during winter break, the Mercer Island boys basketball players used what they learned in California to dominate Newport and Skyline to start the second half of the regular season.

The Islanders began the week with a 55-39 victory at Skyline High School as Leroy Lutu (19) and Matt Schut (15) led the team in scoring.

Against the Knights on Friday, Mercer Island jumped out to a big lead only to see Newport make a comeback with an 11-0 run. Despite the motivation of defending their home court, the Knights could not stop the Islanders as Lutu and Drew Sexton led the team through a 15-0 run to rebuild their team’s lead, taking the contest 62-37.

“They got our lead down to nine but we came back,” said Mercer Island coach Ed Pepple. “They made a good run, but we answered. But we need to be a little more consistent.”

The Islanders’ trip to Palm Springs over the break finished with two losses, but the experience was invaluable for the team’s run at the KingCo title.

“Nearly every game came down to the last shot, and we were playing some top-notch players,” said Pepple. “We played with them all the way.”

Some of the competition has already committed to top division I NCAA schools such as Duke and UCLA.

“We played some tough games, and they served their purpose,” said Pepple.

Both Schut and Sexton were named to the all-tournament team.

Mercer Island played at Bellevue on Tuesday night (after Reporter deadline). The Islanders defeated the Wolverines earlier this season.

The Islanders will host Sammamish at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

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