Sports

Bellevue bows to Mercer Island girls | Islanders are one win from first league title

Islander Sarah Taylor battles for a rebound during the third quarter of Mercer Island’s first win in three years against Bellevue. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Islander Sarah Taylor battles for a rebound during the third quarter of Mercer Island’s first win in three years against Bellevue.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

One of the biggest wins in the history of Mercer Island High School girls basketball took place on Feb. 4, when the Islanders defeated Bellevue, 66-58, at Mercer Island High School.

“I think this shows just how far we have come,” said Islander coach Jamie Prescott. “To get a payoff like this shows the work pays off.”

The win was the first against the Wolverines in three years. The team was hammered by 18 points earlier this season at Bellevue High School.

One of the big reasons for the win was the play of sophomores Sarah Taylor and Jae Shin.

“I wanted to kill Bellevue,” said Taylor, who missed the last meeting between the two teams due to a concussion.

Taylor came up big during the third quarter with five rebounds, an assist and four points. The effort came as Bellevue was attempting to make a run to get back into the ballgame.

“We didn’t have her last time and that hurt us,” said Prescott, about Taylor, who finished with eight rebounds and 11 points. “Her feistiness to get in there and get those rebounds has a huge impact on what we can do.”

Mercer Island began the second half with a 10-point lead, thanks to the sharp shooting of Shin, who finished the game with 20 points, including five three-pointers.

“In some games we have tried too hard to get the hot hand on the ball,” said Prescott. “Tonight, we just concentrated on moving the ball around.”

The Islanders began the game down 6-4 before senior Janelle Chow picked a Wolverine player’s pocket and ran the length of the court to tie the contest. That basket triggered a 12-0 run by the Islanders that wouldn’t end until Shin found Kate DaPron for a basket deep in the key.

Mercer Island would ride that advantage until the third quarter, where Taylor and Shin boosted the lead to 17 points.

“The third is always our best quarter,” said Taylor.

But by the beginning of the fourth quarter the Wolverines had chipped the lead back to 10 points.

Bellevue’s 10-2 run, from the final minutes of the third on into the fourth, got the team to within four points at 56-52. It would be the closest the Wolverines would get as freshman Heidi Black’s steal and coast-to-coast layup broke the momentum. A three point play by Hailey Gullstad and another steal and lay-in by Chow pushed Mercer Island’s advantage back to nine points.

The win, coupled with its drubbing of Sammamish Friday **-**, put Mercer Island one victory from its first KingCo title in school history. The Islanders played the Patriots Tuesday (after Reporter deadline). With a win Mercer Island would clinch the title outright. But the Islanders could still clinch at least a share of the title with a loss and a victory Friday at Mount Si. Mercer Island, prior to the game against Liberty, holds an 8-1 record. The Islanders overall record is 13-4 but the team has not lost a game in a month.

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