Sports

Gier, Lilly lead Mercer Island to third in San Diego: Senior breaks school record for rebounds in a game

For the first time in five years the Mercer Island High School girls basketball team entered a tournament over winter break. The result was a third-place overall finish in its bracket, Georgia Gier setting a new school record for rebounds in a game, taking her game to the next level and the emergence of freshman guard Hannah Lilly, as she earned all-tournament honors.

“This is the first time we have traveled for a tournament since I was a sophomore,” said Mercer Island girls basketball head coach Jamie Prescott. “It was definitely a learning experience.”

The girls began the tournament Wednesday, Dec. 27 in San Diego, Calif. with a game against hometown favorite Half Moon Bay and earned a decisive 58-35 victory. Gier displayed all of her skills by recording a triple double for the game including 11blocked shots and 14 rebounds.

“We have a big strength in the post but we are gaining balance between Georgia and the guards,” said Lilly. “The things we worked on during the tournament will help us with upcoming league games.”

Mercer Island methodically built a 29-16 halftime lead, but exploded on offense during the third period with 24 points. Both teams finished the blowout contest slow as Half Moon Bay outscored the Islanders 6-5.

The Islanders were led on the scoreboard by Lilly, who finished the contest with a game-high 21 points. Gier also scored big for Mercer Island with 16 points, while Amanda Nield added nine.

During the second round, Mercer Island lost a close game to Urban High School from San Francisco, Calif. A 19-6 advantage for Urban during the second quarter was too much for the Islanders to overcome, despite holding their opposition to 13 total points during the second half. Islander Holland Flemming led the team with 11 points, but Gier was held to just three points, while Lilly was held scoreless. The loss sent Mercer Island and the tournament directors into a dilemma as they were to face Half Moon Bay for the second time in two days. But the Islanders wound up playing Seattle Academy for third place as the game would be more beneficial all the teams involved.

The Islanders dominated the game and rode a 16-3 first-quarter advantage to the 58-32 victory. Gier took control from the opening tip, pounding the boards and leading all scorers with 24 points. Gier finished the contest with a new school record of18 rebounds, breaking the mark of 17 set by Jesse Paull in 2005.

Lilly contributed 19 points and Nield had eight points during the contest.

“They are learning that they have to have balance between the posts and guards and use everyone on the floor,” said Prescott.

The tournament gave the team with one senior (Gier) and four new freshman varsity players a chance to bond.

“It was a lot of fun getting to know them off the court,” said Lilly. “We are getting a lot better working together on the court and off.”

The girls will get back to 3A KingCo play tonight as they travel to Skyline for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off and then to Newport on Friday.

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