Islander girls kick Patriots with Shin | Sophomore scores 14 third-quarter points, four consecutive three-pointers

Islander guard Jae Shin (11) drives past a Liberty defender at Mercer Island Friday. The Islanders won 65-58. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Islander guard Jae Shin (11) drives past a Liberty defender at Mercer Island Friday. The Islanders won 65-58.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

Mercer Island sophomore Jae Shin has been known to get the hot hand on the basketball court. But the fact that she didn’t melt the basketball during the third quarter of the Islanders’ 65-58 victory against Liberty might have been the most shocking part of the night.

“I didn’t keep thinking about my shot,” said Shin. “I just wanted to move the ball because I knew it would come back to me.”

Her teammates kept coming back to Shin as she knocked down five consecutive baskets, four of them three-pointers, for a total of 14 third-quarter points.

“I got really excited,” said Shin. “It is nice to have teammates pass it to you.”

Shin wasn’t the only one excited in the Mercer Island High School gymnasium as the crowd began to erupt every time she got the ball.

“She has been that hot before,” said Mercer Island coach Jamie Prescott. “That was great to see.”

It was definitely great for a team that just lost a big game to league-leading Bellevue the previous week.

“We really focused on this game,” said Prescott. “We spent the last week working on team defense and offense. That is the benefit of moving the ball.”

Mercer Island began the game in a tussle for possessions and the two KingCo powers were tied at 14-14 after the first quarter. Mercer Island sophomore Sarah Taylor came up in that category, pulling down six rebounds during the first quarter.

“It was definitely desire,” said Taylor. “But my teammates did a great job of boxing out, and we all had good focus tonight.”

Taylor continued to grab board after board, finishing with 12 for the game after missing time with a concussion.

“Not having her against Bellevue was a real factor,” said Prescott. “She is a tough kid.”

The team’s desire to win was evident in the play of senior Janelle Chow during the second quarter. Driving to the basket, Chow ran into the biggest player on the court, 6-foot-1 center Danni Sjolander, who swatted the Islanders’ shot back in her face. But the 5-foot-7 guard returned the favor on the other end of the floor, using her high-jump skills to block the center’s jump shot.

The Islanders rode another hot hand during the second quarter as senior Chloe Snethen knocked down consecutive three-pointers and added a lay-up for her only points of the game. But they were a big eight points, as Mercer Island finished the half with a flurry and a 38-28 advantage.

Shin’s scoring frenzy inspired her teammates and frustrated the Patriots. The competitiveness of the game was no more evident than when the Patriots’ starting guard drove to the basket and collided with Chow. The two players barreled out of bounds into a photographer. The Liberty player lay on the court in pain after the play but returned to the game during the fourth quarter.

The Patriots made a run at Mercer Island during the fourth quarter but never got closer than four possessions.

The win gives Mercer Island new life in KingCo, as Liberty defeated Bellevue earlier this year. The Islanders and Bellevue are now tied at the top of the 3A KingCo standings at 4-1 with Liberty a close second at 3-2. Mercer Island will host Bellevue on Feb. 4.

Mercer Island will host Mount Si tonight for a 7:30 p.m. tip off.

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