Girls go cold in KingCo

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The gymnasium at Newport High School Friday night felt more like a refrigerator than a basketball court thanks to on-going construction. But the Islanders were the ones who were cold on the hardwood this week as they dropped two in-league games.

The Islanders were smashed by Skyline’s high-powered offense Wednesday 78-34, and had various troubles against the Knights in a 60-47 loss Friday.

Mercer Island had opportunities against Newport but foul trouble, turnovers and missed jump shots cost the team many chances to get back into the game after halftime.

“We have been working on attacking more on defense and trying to stay aggressive,” said Islander sophomore starter Janelle Chow who only played a total of 17 minutes thanks to foul trouble.

That aggressive nature kept the score close during the first quarter despite the team’s leading scorer, freshman Hannah Lilly, coming away with no baskets. But while Lilly would pick up her game and finish the contest with a team-high 15 points, the rest of the Islanders struggled.

“We dug ourselves a hole that we could never chip enough away at to get back into the game,” said Lilly. “We have a young team and we will learn from this.”

The Knights put on the pressure to open the second period with an 11-1 run and take a 23-11 lead. But Lilly brought the Islanders back with two consecutive three pointers, including one from college range.

Mercer Island cut the lead all the way down to 30-25. But a lapse in defense over the final 1:20 of the second period by Mercer Island allowed Newport to take control and extend its advantage back to 11 points, 37-26.

“We had to take some players out cause of foul trouble and we just couldn’t get a basket to stop their momentum,” said Lilly.

During the first minute of the third period Chow committed her fourth personal foul. She would not return until late in the fourth period but still finished with eight points and was the team’s third highest scorer for the game.

One player that did step up on the offensive end of the floor was Chloe Snethen who finished with 12 points, including three three-pointers.

Newport continued to extend the lead during the fourth period by holding the Mercer Island offense to just two baskets from the field until Lilly hit a long three-pointer in the final seconds.

“We just need to practice, practice, practice,” said Lilly.

No amount of practice would have helped the Islanders against Skyline. The Islanders found themselves down 18 points after just one quarter of play. Mercer Island came into the game fatigued from its trip to California and facing one of the best teams in the state. Spartans Madison Maloney and Carlie Wolken touched Mercer Island for a combined 40 points during the game.

The Islanders made a push during the second quarter with 13 team points but every other quarter failed to yield double digits. Chow (12) and Georgia Gier (10) led the team in scoring, while three players scored just four points.

The Islanders have a tough month of games in January thanks to two makeup contests. But there is good news for Mercer Island.

“We haven’t played most of the easy teams in the league yet,” said Lilly. “This will give us a chance to regroup.”

The Islanders will get one of the toughest teams in the state at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Bellevue High School. But Friday brings Sammamish to Mercer Island, a team the Islanders defeated twice last year.

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