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Girls hoops start playoffs tonight
As if Island senior Georgia Gier didn’t know that the game against Newport was her final contest at home, numerous banners of thanks hanging around the Mercer Island High School gymnasium told her so Feb. 6.
The senior center did everything she could to make her final home game a successful one, putting up 24 points and pulling down a school record 20 rebounds, but the Islanders fell to the Knights 56-46.
“I thought I would be disappointed, but we had a good game,” said Gier.
The loss ended Mercer Island’s bid to finish the regular season schedule at .500 for the first time in five years but the team still has a chance to finish above the even mark in overall record for the season.
“This season has been a test of maturity and its not over yet,” said team coach, Jamie Prescott.
The loss, coupled with a win, 66-31, during the regular season finale against Sammamish means that Mercer Island finishes with a record of 7-9.
Gier dominated the first quarter against Newport with a double-double, scoring 11 points and 10 rebounds. Mercer Island built a 21-4 lead during the first minutes of the second quarter. But Gier seemed to be playing by herself.
“It was such a great first quarter but there was not much balance,” said Prescott. “We just needed one more girl to step up and we didn’t get that.”
Prescott was finally forced to pull her only senior from the game as the constant double team of Knights had worn down Gier.
But the exit of the 6-foot-2 center left a huge hole for the Islanders as Newport battled back by outscoring Mercer Island 10-2. The home team earned the final shot of the quarter as Kate DaPron found teammate Chloe Snethen for the wide open for a last second three-pointer to give Mercer Island a 25-18 halftime lead.
“I think we just got over confident during the second quarter and it carried over to the second half,” said Gier. “We played scared once we got down.”
Mercer Island relinquished the lead at the 4:03 mark of the third period, 31-30. Newport continued to pound Gier with double teams, but the senior broke through on defense with a thunderous block in the paint.
“When we play as a team we are tough to beat,” said Gier. “We just didn’t play as a team.”
Back-to-back three-point shots from Newport put the Islanders down 50-40 with two minutes left. The Islanders refused to give up, forcing six turnovers during the remainder of the game. But the Islanders struggled to convert those opportunities into points.
Gier’s 24 points were a game high but the rest of her team shot just 9-for-29 from the floor.
The Islander’s win on Thursday against Sammamish was a team game as DaPron led the Islanders with 15 points but Gier contributed 14 and Janelle Chow and Hannah Lilly each had nine points.
Mercer Island begins the 3A KingCo tournament at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Sammamish High School with a chance for redemption as they play Newport for the third time this season in a loser-out first round game.