Mercer Island Islanders senior guard/co-captain Will Lee (pictured) said the goal for his squad this season is to win the 2A/3A KingCo Division and clinch a berth in the Class 3A state tournament in March of 2019 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Mercer Island Islanders senior guard/co-captain Will Lee (pictured) said the goal for his squad this season is to win the 2A/3A KingCo Division and clinch a berth in the Class 3A state tournament in March of 2019 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Islanders are confident on the hardwood

Mercer Island boys basketball team is looking to take the next step.

The Mercer Island Islanders boys basketball team believes the 2018-19 season will be a year to remember on the hardwood.

Mercer Island senior co-captain Will Lee, who will be in his second season in the starting lineup at the guard position, loves what he’s seen during the first two weeks of practices in late November.

“I love the way the team is looking right now. We are really gelling and we’re getting better. We love the challenge and we are getting after it,” Lee said.

The Islanders finished the 2017-18 with an overall record of 12-12 and were knocked out of the district playoffs by Seattle Prep in their season finale. Lee expects this year’s team to eclipse last year’s performance.

“We got two big goals. The first is to win KingCo (2A/3A Conference). This is our year to take league and we feel like we have the team to get that done. The second is to get to the Tacoma Dome (site of the Class 3A state tournament). We’re going after it,” Lee explained.

Mercer Island co-captain Teague Condor believes having eight returners on the varsity squad will pay dividends in early season matchups.

“It is nice having so many guys coming back because obviously we don’t have to work on sets in practice. We can just go out and compete. We competed hard these first few weeks of practice and have just been getting after it at 100 percent. That has helped us a lot,” Condor said.

The Islanders have one of the most physically daunting presences in the entire league in the paint. Islanders sophomore center David Pickles, who stands 6-feet, 8-inches tall, towers over opposing teams players in the post.

“We can feed him in the post and its a mismatch for everyone else in the league. He opens everyone up for open looks on the outside. If we miss a shot, he will get the board and just give us more opportunities,” Condor said.

Mercer Island Islanders head coach Gavin Cree, who will be in his 10th season leading the boys basketball program, is the longest tenured head coach in the 2A/3A KingCo Division.

“We learned some things last year about preparation. Last year we learned that we can’t just go walk into a game and expect to win. Last year we dropped our first game to Sammamish, which was a disappointing loss. Now I think we are well positioned to approach every game with a great mentality,” Cree explained. “We have eight returning lettermen so we have a lot of guys coming back with various levels of experience. Griffin Emanuels (2018 graduate) was such focal point for us last year being a three-year starter and a four-year varsity player. With him graduated, it actually opens up more freedom for everybody else to bring their skill set to the table. A lot of the guys have improved.”

Cree said returners Rainer McDonald, Joe Gormley, Adam Parker, Bickle, Lee and Condor bring a wealth of experience to the floor.

“We have a lot of guys who have had some big roles on this team but we’re still young overall. We don’t have a lot of seniors. We have four seniors and three of them have experience. Overall it is a group that is continuing to learn to play at this level. I think it’s going to come together more quickly than it did last year,” Cree said.

MERCER ISLAND

Remaining Schedule

Dec. 7 at Marysville-Pilchuck, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 11 JUANITA, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 14 INTERLAKE, 8 p.m.

Dec. 18 at Sammamish, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 21 at Lake Washington, 8 p.m.

Jan. 5 at Newport, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8 BELLEVUE, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 11 LIBERTY, 8 p.m.

Jan. 18 at Juanita, 8 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Interlake, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 25 SAMMAMISH, 8 p.m.

Jan. 29 LAKE WASHINGTON, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 1 at Bellevue, 8 p.m.

Mercer Island Islanders boys basketball head coach Gavin Cree (pictured) coaches with intensity in a matchup against the Bellevue Wolverines during the 2017-2018 season. The 2018-19 season will be Cree’s 10th season leading the Islanders boys basketball program. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Mercer Island Islanders boys basketball head coach Gavin Cree (pictured) coaches with intensity in a matchup against the Bellevue Wolverines during the 2017-2018 season. The 2018-19 season will be Cree’s 10th season leading the Islanders boys basketball program. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Mercer Island Islanders senior guard Teague Condor (pictured) was announced as a co-captain during a Nov. 27 practice session by head coach Gavin Cree. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Mercer Island Islanders senior guard Teague Condor (pictured) was announced as a co-captain during a Nov. 27 practice session by head coach Gavin Cree. Shaun Scott/staff photo

More in Sports

Mercer Island Islanders senior wrestler Donnie Howard, left, battles against Yelm’s Derrick Platt, right in the Mat Classic Class 3A 195-pound championship match. Platt earned a 3-2 victory against Howard on Feb. 16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Sensational senior earns second place at Mat Classic

Mercer Island 195-pound wrestler Donnie Howard finishes a memorable career on the mat.

Mercer Island Islanders senior grappler Eli Pruchno, who competed in the 138-pound weight division, earned three victories at the Mat Classic Class 3A state wrestling tournament on Feb. 15-16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Pruchno earns three victories at the Mat Classic

Mercer Island Islanders senior grappler Eli Pruchno, who competed in the 138-pound… Continue reading

Three Mercer Island Islanders gymnasts will compete at the Class 3A state meet from Feb. 21-23 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. Islanders athletes Ava Motroni (beam, vault), Emery Sampson (vault) and Rachel Ressmeyer (bars, floor, vault) will test their skills against the best gymnastics athletes in Washington at the state meet. Photo courtesy of Debra Gibbs
Three Mercer Island athletes will compete at gymnastics state meet

Three Mercer Island Islanders gymnasts will compete at the Class 3A state… Continue reading

Richardson earns top honors at state swim meet

Mercer Island senior takes pair of titles again.

Soccer and hockey take center stage on vacation / Sports Scene

When you’re on vacation, you might as well pack as many vital… Continue reading

Mercer Island Islanders senior swimmer Killian Riley will compete in the 200 free, 100 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay at the Class 3A state swim and dive championships on Feb. 15-16 in Federal Way. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Riley rises to the occasion in the pool

Mercer Island senior Killian Riley thrives in a quartet of events.

Mercer Island Islanders freshman Chris Clark (pictured) drives to the hoop in the fourth quarter against the Bellevue Wolverines in the 3A KingCo tournament championship game on Feb. 6 at Newport High School in Factoria. The Islanders defeated the Wolverines 44-41. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Islanders conquer Wolverines in 3A KingCo championship game

Mercer Island fends off Bellevue fourth quarter rally.

Give it your all in the playoffs and appreciate the moment / Sports Scene

Athletes and coaches have unveiled their best performances in the regular season,… Continue reading

Islanders earn overtime win against Saints

Mercer Island girls hoops team captures first victory of the season.

Most Read