TACOMA — There’s not much more Jabe Mullins can do for the Mount Si boys basketball team.
The versatile 6-foot-6 guard can handle the ball, score it at will and definitely share it as the offense flows through him.
Mullins tallied 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals and got everyone involved as the third-seeded Wildcats continued their march with a 61-49 triumph over fifth-seeded Federal Way in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome.
Mount Si (24-4), last year’s Class 4A state runner-up, is two wins from the school’s first state crown since 1977. The Wildcats took it to Federal Way from the start and the game was never in doubt, leading by as many as 18 points.
“We want what we didn’t get last year, and we’re hungry for it,” Wildcat junior Hayden Curtiss.
Mullins does a lot and he played all 32 minutes, but he didn’t do it alone as the 6-foot-9 Curtiss continued his recent ascent. Curtiss finished with 13 points — all in the second half — 10 rebounds and three blocked shots and had Mullins setting things up for him all night.
“Jabe’s just an incredible passer,” Curtiss said. “The way he moves the ball around, it pretty much just makes it effortless for us to finish (shots). He’s such a good dribbler, and he blows by his guys a lot. He’s really good at dump passes. He makes it super easy to just go up and get the dunk.”
The sting of last year’s 69-43 loss to Gonzaga Prep in last season’s state championship has been a constant reminder to do more. Mount Si came with the early intensity and shot out to a 13-2 lead and Federal Way (24-6) never got closer than six points and couldn’t match the Wildcats, who made almost 60 percent from the field.
“Federal Way’s was like the first team we’ve had press us that hard the whole game,” Curtiss said. “In practice, the last couple of days we’ve been working on press breaks.”
Wildcats’ senior Tyler Patterson, a Montana State University commit, added 13 points and three three-pointers.
Mount Si faces the Glacier Peak-Sumner winner in Friday’s 9 p.m. state semifinals. Federal Way must win Friday against the Glacier Peak-Sumner loser in a loser-out contest at 2 p.m. to place at state for the sixth season in a row.
Mullins facilitated most of Mount Si’s baskets, easily picking apart a team that looked in sync in Wednesday’s first-round, loser-out 78-57 blowout of Battle Ground. The smaller, quicker guards of the Eagles didn’t bother Mullins.
“It felt really good and we knew we kind of had to get off to a fast start to build confidence and instill to them that we were the better team,” said Mullins, a St. Mary’s commit who made 10 of 18 shots from the floor, including two three-pointers. “We let them know that. They had a super good game (Wednesday), so we knew we had to lock them up. We knew we had to control the tempo, because they like to get up and down.”
The Eagles didn’t have answer for Mullins in the first half as he was either scoring or dishing. Mullins put up 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals before the break as Mount Si opened a 33-19 halftime lead.
“I’m used to playing against a lot of small, quick guards on the AAU circuit, because I play point guard there,” Mullins said. “I felt comfortable. I knew I needed to play low and use my body low against smaller defenders.”
Jaylen-Wes Williams and Jared Franklin led the Eagles with eight points each.