Islanders take KingCo tourney title

Boys basketball team improves in-league mark to 18-0

  • Monday, November 24, 2008 8:09pm
  • Sports
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Leroy Lutu was named the 3A KingCo tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Leroy Lutu was named the 3A KingCo tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Boys basketball team improves in-league mark to 18-0

Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The intensity of the 3A KingCo tournament title game between Mercer Island and Bellevue was evident by the scratches and bruises on some of the boys’ basketball players after the game. But all the blood and pain faded away as Islander Drew Sexton walked to the center of the Bellevue Community College basketball court to accept the first-place trophy for his team. Mercer Island last won the trophy in 2004.

“I guess good kids do finish first, sometimes,” said Mercer Island coach Ed Pepple, who was named coach of the year.

The 55-43 win Friday night was the third victory over rival Bellevue this season and continues Mercer Island’s perfect run against KingCO teams this season.

“This gives us a lot to work for in the next round,” said Islander Matt Schut, who had 13 points during the finals and was named first team all-conference. “We get a first-round bye and we have a good shot to make it to state.”

Both teams began the game sporting tough defense but a long three-pointer from Sexton gave Mercer Island an 18-10 lead during the opening moments of the second quarter. That lead would shrink to just two points during the quarter but an other long three-pointer, this time from Leroy Lutu, gave the Islanders a 25-17 lead heading into halftime. Sexton and Lutu led the team in scoring with 15 points each.

“This was a really physical game,” said Lutu, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “But we did what it took to win.”

The third quarter was a big difference for the Islanders, as they pushed their lead to 38-21, the largest of the game. But Bellevue would battle back, eventually getting trailing the Islanders by six with 5:32 left in the game.

Freethrows and a surge of steals prevented the Wolverines from getting any closer.

Mercer Island nearly failed to make the finals as they had to fend off a strong Skyline team in overtime, 52-49, during the semifinals.

“We will have to play better than we did last night if we are going to get to state,” said Schut.

Lutu was the difference during the semis, scoring 22 points. A Lutu three-pointer proved to be the game-winning shot.

“He really carried us,” said Schut, who was the only other Islander in double figures during the game with 12 points. “He was our guy.”

Sexton was selected second team all-conference, while Evan Zahniser was an honorable mention. Mercer Island also took home the sportsmanship award.

The win guarantees Mercer Island two games during the district tournament and a bye through the first round.

The Islanders will play at 8:15 p.m. Friday night at Sammamish High School during the second round of the Sea-King tournament.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Captain Newcomer looking to keep her team energized this season

MIHS junior is also a member of the Trivia Club and Marvel Club.

Courtesy photo
Left to right: Lenny Zilz, Eric Dorre, Chuck Robinson.
3 Mercer Island masters swimmers net nationally ranked times in meet

6 a.m. swim practices, four times a week. This is the normal… Continue reading

Clark is ready to lead the Islanders back onto the court

He is the team’s third-year starting varsity point guard.

Islander volleyball just misses state spot

Mercer Island’s volleyball squad went 1-2 in the 3A District 2 tournament… Continue reading

Hoopsters display their skills at tournament

After a two-year break due to COVID-19, the Mercer Island Boys &… Continue reading

Islander volleyball still vying for state spot

Mercer Island’s volleyball squad went 1-1 in the opening rounds of the… Continue reading

Mercer Island High School 2021-22 winter varsity sports schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL Nov. 29 NEWPORT, SHORECREST and JUANITA (jamboree), 7:10 p.m. Dec.… Continue reading

MIHS boys take ninth at state cross country meet

Mercer Island’s boys cross country squad placed ninth at the 3A state… Continue reading

Islander swimmer Whelan thrives in the sprint races

Staying pumped and positive makes a difference, she says.

MIHS girls swim and dive squad wins 3A KingCo title

Islanders take second at districts; state is next.

Islanders beat Newport on the gridiron

Eli Fahey threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers in Mercer… Continue reading