Mr. Wiseley"s reply to MI - LWHS stuns Islanders 69-50

By Matt Phelps

Kangaroo Steve Wiseley's ties to Mercer Island are many, despite attending Lake Washington High School. His mother, Carol, works at Mercer Island High School. The senior has been mentored and has a good relationship with the Islander coaching staff. Wiseley almost made the decision to attend Mercer Island High School.

On Friday, Wiseley made the Islander gymnasium his own. He lit up the scoreboard by pouring in a third of Lake Washington's point total, and blasting Mercer Island 69-50, to open the season.

``It seemed like he couldn't miss,'' said Mercer Island head coach Ed Pepple. ``He had 17 points before I sat down.''

With chants of ``Mrs. Wiseley'' from the Mercer Island student body, the senior hit three three-pointers during the first quarter. His only two-point basket came on a steal and an ensuing drive down court.

Islander Kael Kristof did everything he could to keep his team in the game. A fade-away jumper drew Mercer Island back within 15-9.

``He was really good on the boards but we have to get him some help down there,'' said Pepple.

Kristof finished the game with 14 rebounds and 10 points.

The Islanders were burned on defense for 21 points and Kristof's seven-point effort was the only thing that kept the team alive.

``We had a lot of careless turnovers during the first half. We just made a lot of mental mistakes,'' said Pepple.

The Islanders weathered the first period and clamped down on defense during the second. The Islander crowd had something to cheer about as Wiseley had just one basket in the quarter. Mercer Island outscored their opponents 10-6 during the period and went into the half down by four points.

Just as the Islanders began to shutdown Wiseley, Blake Pankow heated up for Lake Washington. The 6-foot-5 junior scored eight during the third period and finished the game with 18 points.

The Islanders tried to keep pace. Sophomore Leroy Lutu's second of two shots from beyond the arch pulled the Islanders back to within four points. Lutu, in his first varsity start for the Islanders, was everywhere.

``He proved that he is ready for prime time,'' said Pepple.

If the sophomore wasn't taking a shot for one of his team high 11 points, he was disrupting the Kangaroo's offense with his quickness. The hope of Mercer Island turned during the end of the third period as Wiseley hit a buzzer beating three-pointer.

``I felt like we were going to win the entire game,'' said Kristof. ``But we just stopped getting out on their shooters.''

The Kangaroos got out on the Mercer Island shooters, but nothing was in the Islanders face when they were at the free-throw stripe.

``We didn't even shoot 50 percent from the line,'' said Pepple.

The Islanders finished the game 8-for-18 from the line.

``We just have to keep practicing,'' said Kristof. ``Missing free throws is inexcusable.''

One sequence during the fourth quarter highlighted Mercer Island's woes from the floor. Following a steal, the Islanders brought the ball up court and took a quick three-point shot. The ball bounced off the rim and to an Islander player under the goal. The put-back shot ricocheted off. The next put-back shot missed. The ball caromed off the rim, outside to another player who took a shot and missed. But the player was fouled, sending him to the line for two shots, which he subsequently missed.

A usually boisterous Mercer Island crowd was nearly silenced by the sequence. The small group of Lake Washington supporters cheered loudly. The Kangaroos took one of the Islander's usual winning chants of ``drive home safely,'' and began to chant ``walk home safely.''

The Islanders lost their season opening game last year as well, when West Seattle beat Mercer Island on a last second shot. But Wiseley said that the Mercer Island mystique is still intact.

``This is an incredible place to play,'' said Wiseley.

Mercer Island hosted Liberty Tuesday (after Reporter deadline) and will travel to Newport at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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