Mercer Island girls basketball wins first state match - into quarterfinals

With the first state tournament game behind them, the Mercer Island girls basketball team looked to focus on their quarterfinal match up tonight against Kennedy Catholic.

The 62-31 win over Mt. Rainier was the perfect way for the Islanders to get things rolling, sending a definitive statement the Islanders were in it for the long haul.

On both ends of the court the girls in maroon and white set the tempo, holding the Rams to just four points in both the second and third quarters, and improving their rebounding stats, something the team focused on in their off time between districts and state.

"We won the board 51-23," said head coach Jamie Prescott of the Islanders rebounding. "We did pretty good for the most part. I think we let up a little bit as the score increased, but I thought we did a good job to set the tempo."

The Islanders ended the game with a 38.6 percent field goal average, while the Rams hit just 25.5 percent of their shots. Mt. Rainier, who had free throw shooting issues all afternoon ended the game hitting only four of their 11 attempts, while Mercer Island was 13 for 15 on the line. Another nail in the coffin for the Rams against Mercer Island was their inability to stop the turnovers, losing that battle 18-9.

Offensively the Islanders spread their points around, with freshman Kris Brackman earning 11, while Hailey Gullstad had nine, as did Jae Shin. Heidi Black put up eight for MIHS, and the team's other freshman, Christina Williamson had six, in a game where every member of the roster saw playing time.

"I thought it was so balanced it was hard to say, everybody did something great," said Prescott when asked about player standouts during the match. She added that she would have liked to see the team use the inside more during the game.

The Islanders face Kennedy Catholic tonight at 7 p.m. in the state quarterfinals. Ranked throughout the season as the No. 2 team in the state, the defending state champions enter tonight's game on a 18 game winning streak. The Lancers losses this season came against Auburn-Riverside, who won the girls 4A state championship last week, St. Mary's, a team from Arizona, and Hamblen West, a team from Tennessee.

"We keep talking about if you want to be the best, you need to play the best," said Prescott after the win over Mt. Rainier. "We played Holy Names and they are the best, and Kennedy is considered second best, so we'll hopefully see a good match-up."

The Reporter will be updating live from tonight's game in Tacoma. Follow MIRsports on Twitter for live results.

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