The No. 8 Wildcats won 56-44, but they weren't happy with how they played — especially in the second half.
Searching for positives, Mount Si begrudgingly found one — it’s still undefeated in KingCo 4A play.
Otherwise the team’s 56-44 boys basketball win against Skyline on Friday night produced game film of how they don’t want to play the remainder of the season — beginning with an upcoming tournament in California.
“Or we’ll get beat by 20 points,” Mount Si coach Jason Griffith said.
The Wildcats managed to build a 20-point lead in the third quarter against the Spartans. Freshman point guard Bennett O’Connor passed to junior Tyler Patterson for the bucket to make the score 48-28 with 1:43 remaining in the quarter.
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Mount Si then had a five-minute scoring drought even Skyline coach Gordon Kaplan didn’t want to credit his team for creating. While the Spartans (3-5, 1-4 KingCo 4A) played better defensively after the break, the Wildcats (6-1, 5-0) stopped communicating.
That led to missed shots and turnovers for Mount Si and allowed Skyline junior Yogesh Banala to help his team wiggle back into the game. The Spartans went on a 12-2 run. Banala had a steal and darted for a layin to cut the deficit to 50-41 with 3:04 left in the game.
But Skyline couldn’t fully overcome its own struggles to threaten Mount Si for the upset.
“We’re not a very good basketball team,” said Kaplan, a former Spartans assistant coach who took over the head position this season. “That’s reflected in our record and some of our immaturity on the floor. We’re starting to put some things in and it’s new for just about everybody (so) we’re trying to mosh that up and make something tasty out of it, but right now it’s just really bitter.”
Mount Si was more fluid to open the game. Junior leading scorer Jabe Mullins seemed to have a hand on every possession, dishing the ball to freshman Quin Patterson for a three-pointer and a 21-9 lead to close the first quarter.
Mullins had two blocks and a dunk and six points in the second quarter to give the Wildcats a 36-21 lead at halftime. Mullins only had two points in the second half, finishing with a game-high 14 and seven rebounds.
Tyler Patterson had 12 points and younger brother Quin added 11. Sophomore Kauner Przybylski had 10 points to lead Skyline.
“When we have a little bit of cushion, we do tend to not go as hard as we need to go,” Mullins said. “But really we just need to talk more. We were not communicating in the second half. We knew we were going to win, we just had a little lull.”
Mount Si, which is eighth in The Seattle Times’ rankings for Class 4A, travels to play games in the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational in California during the winter break. The Wildcats open against Pinnacle, which features point guard Nico Mannion, an Arizona-commit who’s rated by ESPN as the 12th best player in the country for the Class of 2019.
“First half was good, guys were engaged,” Griffith said. “In the second half, we got a little selfish. Guys weren’t sharing the ball and we weren’t running our sets and getting to hands-y on defense. That’s why the game slowed down. We have a tendency to get some pretty big leads in the first half. Understanding what got us there has been a struggle.”