Islanders advance to Class 3A state semfinals

Mercer Island senior guard Kailee Yan came through when it counted the most in the Class 3A state girls basketball quarterfinals against the Kamiakin Braves.

Yan, who was just 1-for-9 from the field in the first half, scored 10 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter, propelling the Islanders to a 52-43 win against the Braves on Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. The Islanders and Braves were tied at 37-37 at the end of three quarters of play. Mercer Island dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring Kamiakin 15-6 to clinch a berth in the Class 3A state semifinals.

“The first half I was pretty off. I wasn’t feeling my shot. The normal shots I would make, I wasn’t making but I kept shooting. That was important. My coaches did a good job of encouraging me and my teammates kept telling me to shoot,” Yan said.

Yan drilled a 3-pointer with 2:20 left in regulation, giving the Islanders a commanding 50-41 lead. The Islanders, who struggled with rebounding throughout the season, finished with 38 rebounds including 14 offensive rebounds. The Islanders formidable defense held Kamiakin star player Oumou Toure to 21 points and Alexa Hazel to a meager four points.

“As you can see, we only have one six-footer (Anna Luce) and the rest of us are pretty small. In order for us to win, we have to be scrappy. Jessie (Stenberg), Jackie (Stenberg) and Josie (Blakeslee) did a really nice job. Anna had a monster game,” Yan said.

Luce scored a team-high 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in the win. Luce, who will play college basketball at Dartmouth College next season, wasn’t concerned when the Islanders fell behind the Braves 8-0 with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter.

“We didn’t start very well but I know I have a lot of confidence in my team. We have done this in the past where we can dig ourselves right back out of the hole that we started in. That is one of the best assets of our team is that we are just relentless at all times,” Luce said.

The Islanders will face the Snohomish Panthers in the Class 3A state semifinals at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

“Now our goal is to just win state. We are only two games away now,” Luce said.

Mercer Island head coach Gillian d’Hondt said her players deserve to be in this position at this juncture of the season.

“I’m just so proud of the girls. The girls are really stepping up. It is something special. It could be our year,” d’Hondt said. “I told them before we came to state to think about all those hours we put in during the summer and in the fall. This is when it pays off right now.”

More in Sports

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.

The Mercer Island Islanders boys swim team earned first place at the KingCo swim meet on Feb. 2 at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Island. Photo courtesy of Jay Na
Islanders boys swim team wins KingCo swim meet

Mercer Island swim team is a dominant program.

Northwest Yeshiva senior Zohar Hemmet, left, dribbles the ball down the court in the final game of her high school career against Rainier Christian on Jan. 30. Northwest Yeshiva finished the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 4-16. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Rainier Christian defeats Northwest Yeshiva in season finale

Northwest Yeshiva finishes the season with four victories.

Mercer Island Islanders wrestler Colin Farrell, left, registered a first place finish in the 182-pound weight division at the KingCo/Wesco 3A sub-regionals on Feb. 2. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Bevy of Mercer Island grapplers advance to regionals

Islanders wrestling team is peaking at the right time.

Mercer Island 220-pound wrestler Donnie Howard, pictured, pinned Interlake wrestler Cole Mullenix in their matchup on Jan. 17. The Islanders defeated the Saints 44-24 in the dual match. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Mercer Island grapplers conquer Interlake on senior night

The Mercer Island Islanders wrestling team earned a 44-24 victory in a… Continue reading

At long last, Edgar Martinez’s waiting game is over. Photo by clare_and_ben/Flickr
Edgar Martinez finally makes the Hall of Fame

In his last year on the ballot, the Mariner legend and greatest designated hitter of all time gets the Cooperstown call.

Mercer Island Islanders guard Nigel Seda, left, scored a team-high 15 points against the Interlake Saints on Jan. 22. Mercer Island defeated Interlake 63-46. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Islanders cruise past Saints in 3A KingCo hoops contest

Mercer Island dominates Interlake in the first quarter.

Mercer Island resident Desiree Berry, pictured with her children Beau, 5, and Bear, 3, clinched a berth at the United States Olympic trials after clocking a time of 2:39.17 at the Cal International Marathon on Dec. 2 in Sacramento, California. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Berry takes top spot at Cal International Marathon

Mercer Island resident clinches a spot at the USA Olympic trials.

Mercer Island Lacrosse Association to host a clinic in February

A free lacrosse clinic and giveaway will take place from noon to… Continue reading