Mercer Island Islanders junior Adam Parker, left, looks for a teammate to pass to against the Juanita Rebels. Parker finished with a team-high 20 points against the Juanita Rebels on Dec. 11. The Islanders defeated the Rebels 56-49. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

Mercer Island Islanders junior Adam Parker, left, looks for a teammate to pass to against the Juanita Rebels. Parker finished with a team-high 20 points against the Juanita Rebels on Dec. 11. The Islanders defeated the Rebels 56-49. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

Islanders display grittiness in victory against the Rebels

Mercer Island hits clutch shots down the stretch against Juanita.

Midway through the second quarter of play, things didn’t look ideal for the Mercer Island Islanders boys basketball team in their 3A KingCo matchup against the Juanita Rebels.

Juanita, which led Mercer Island 19-12 at that juncture of the game, was controlling the action in all facets. The Islanders closed out the second quarter with a 9-2 run, tying the game at 21-21 at halftime. Mercer Island hit clutch shots from the perimeter and the free throw line down the stretch, en route to a 56-49 win against Juanita on Dec. 11 at Mercer Island High School. The Islanders improved their overall record to 4-1 with the victory. Juanita dropped to 2-4 overall.

Mercer Island head coach Gavin Cree was thrilled to see his team get on track after a shaky first half.

“Juanita wanted it more than us in the first half and they showed their grit throughout the game,” Cree said. “We’ve got to bring it for 32 minutes. Everybody in this league wants to win and there is no unbelievable clear favorite. Anyone can beat anyone. We learned a lesson tonight.”

Juanita head coach Justin Mezistrano was proud of his team’s showing despite the defeat on the road.

“I was really happy with the way we performed tonight. Mercer Island did a great job and that is a credit to them. We had a couple of chances in the second half to hit some really big shots. We had some great possessions but we just didn’t finish them off,” Mezistrano said.

Mercer Island junior guard Adam Parker finished with a team-high 20 points in the contest. Parker calmly sunk four free throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the victory.

“Adam is a beast. He has really taken that next step. It isn’t the first time he’s done this. I’m not surprised. He has come up big for us in every single one of our wins,” Islanders senior co-captain Will Lee said.

Lee finished with 14 points and hit two clutch shots from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, quelling Juanita’s comeback bid.

“Will has stepped up the last two games and made some big 3-pointers for us. He doesn’t hesitate in those situations. That is why he has the green-light to shoot those shots,” Cree said of Lee. “We went to Adam several times and he made plays. He stepped up and he was a rock for us on the offensive side of the ball. He battled hard and got boards (rebounds) too. It was a tough physical game.”

Mercer Island senior guard Will Lee, left, pressures Juanita junior Cooper Mcleod during the first half of play. Lee finished with 14 points against the Rebels. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

Mercer Island senior guard Will Lee, left, pressures Juanita junior Cooper Mcleod during the first half of play. Lee finished with 14 points against the Rebels. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

More in Sports

Mercer Island High School conducted a signing day ceremony for its collegiate bound student athletes on March 19 in the Mercer Island High School commons. Athletes moving on to compete at the collegiate level consist of Stew Vassau (lacrosse-University of Utah), Cole Miller (baseball-University of Washington), Natalie Wilson (softball-Loyola Marymount University), Lina Winiski (rowing-Washington State University), Alex Kaczor (soccer-Central College), Jordan Snyder (soccer-University of Oregon), James Richardson (swimming-Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Grace Fujinaga (lacrosse-University of Pennsylvania), Donnie Howard (lacrosse-Boston University), Ryan Payne (lacrosse-Illinois Wesleyan), Brandon Wong (tennis-University of Washington), Blake Robertson (soccer-University of Puget Sound), Matthew Capone (soccer-Northwest Nazarene), Maggie Baker (track-Brown University) and Teague Conder (baseball-Whitman College).
                                Photo courtesy of Craig Degginger
Islanders signing day ceremony features a plethora of athletes

Mercer Island High School conducted a signing day ceremony for its collegiate… Continue reading

Mercer Island High School sophomore Tegan Yuasa, center, stands on the top spot at the podium sporting a gold medal from the USA Judo Youth National Championships on March 10 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa
Yuasa wins judo gold medal at national championships

Mercer Island High School sophomore Tegan Yuasa earned a gold medal in… Continue reading

Mercer Island Islanders senior shortstop Emily Rowe is the vocal leader of her squad. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Rowe runs the show for the Islanders

Mercer Island senior shortstop is the center of the action.

A coveted goal is attained

Relentless work ethic pays dividends.

Mercer Island Islanders senior girls lacrosse player Grace Fujinaga will continue her lacrosse career at the University of Pennsylvania. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Fujinaga is a dominant force on the lacrosse field

Mercer Island Islanders senior girls lacrosse player Grace Fujinaga hasn’t forgotten her… Continue reading

A view from the bleachers at the Mat Classic state wrestling tournament on Feb. 15, 2019. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Mat Classic is an amazing spectacle

A simply special experience at the Tacoma Dome.

Auburn Riverside defenders bring down Kennedy Catholic’s Junior Alexander during North Puget Sound League Mountain Division action in Oct. 2018 at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
Lawmakers push concussion awareness and best practices in sports

SB 5238 requires University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center to compile research data

Swinging strong at state

Mercer Island’s Rachel Ressmeyer tied for 11th on bars at the 1A/2A/3A… Continue reading

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.