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Basketball: Mercer Island boys nab three wins
The Mercer Island boys basketball team picked up three wins last week, beating Juanita 57-44 before traveling for a win against Interlake and hosting West Seattle.
The Islanders (5-3, 8-8) beat Interlake at the Saints gym, 57-34, before hosting West Seattle on Saturday, when Mercer Island won 44-39.
“Interlake has always been a tough place to play,” said head coach Gavin Cree. “We’re trying to get on a little run here, but it won’t be easy.”
Despite facing off against the Saints and West Seattle on back-to-back nights, the Islanders kept their focus and found the wins that they needed to move into the third spot in the league.
Gabe Fruchter had a big night against Interlake, posting 18 points for his team, with Quinn Sterling putting up nine overall. Against West Seattle, Kaj Sherman had 11 points, while Fruchter had eight and Parker Scott had six points.
Cree said West Seattle, which he called an athletic team, forced the Islanders to handle the ball against pressure and defend solid shooters, something both teams did Saturday night. Cree said the game would be a good playoff preparation game for the coming weeks.
Scott, who had a total of 17 points last week, has made a big push on the varsity squad, helping the team hit the spot from the outside and inside.
“Parker Scott has done a good job of working his tail off and staying focused,” said Cree. “He spent time with the JV a couple of weeks ago, and now he is a big-time contributor on the varsity. It’s nice to see a kid who perseveres through adversity like he has.”
Earlier in the week, the team hosted Juanita, starting off slow, but found a way to pull ahead in the final minutes after the Rebels started losing players to fouls.
“I thought we did a good job of staying mentally tough,” said Cree of the team’s performance against the Rebels. “We had a slow first half and we really came out in the second half with the energy and determination it takes to win games. It was more about our work ethic than anything else.”
The Rebels held the lead going into the halftime break, up by three points 25-21 over an Islanders team who played solidly in the first half, but couldn’t get the rebounds to get ahead. What Mercer Island lacked in the first half, they found in the third quarter, surging to 17 points to tie the score at 38 going into the last eight minutes of the game.
The team found their groove in the final minutes of the game, putting up 19 points while holding Juanita to just seven. The Rebels faced foul trouble in the fourth, losing three starters, Kellen Gildersleeve, Cole Graves and Kris Otterholt, in the last five minutes of the match.
Quinn Sterling had 13 points for the Islanders, while Kaj Sherman picked up 21 points for Mercer Island. Sophomore Parker Scott had a stellar night, putting up five points for the Islanders, behind the six Sloan Aikens and Jeff Lindquist contributed.