BELLEVUE — It took a while for Jabe Mullins to find his birthday jam, but he had Mount Si celebrating starting in the second half of its KingCo 4A boys basketball tournament title game on Saturday night.
The Wildcats (19-3) stitched together a 10-2 run after halftime to build a 33-21 lead against Skyline midway through the third quarter. Mullins, who turned 18, amped up the festivities a notch with a breakaway, one-handed slam dunk in the final quarter to help second-ranked Mount Si close out the 54-33 win at Sammamish High.
As officials handed the Wildcats their trophy, Mount Si students gathered around the basketball team and sang “Happy Birthday” to Mullins. It’s the second consecutive league title for the Wildcats.
“This was what I wanted,” Mullins said of celebrating a championship and birthday with his team, friends and family. “This year KingCo was definitely harder. Last year we kind of ran through everyone. This year there were some teams that challenged us and put us through adversity. We’re peaking at just the right time.”
Mullins, a Saint Mary’s commit, led all scorers with 23 points and had eight rebounds. Teammate Hayden Curtiss added 14 points while Tyler Patterson, a Montana State-commit, had eight points.
Skyline junior Kauner Przybylski scored seven of his team-high 11 points in the opening half to keep the game close. The Spartans (15-6) were tied with the Wildcats at the end of the third quarter and only down 23-19 at halftime.
“They’re very difficult to guard, so if you’re in the game with them at any point, you’re very fortunate,” Skyline coach Gordon Kaplan said. “We’re crafty and smart but sustaining the effort was very difficult.”
Patterson hit a three-pointer for a 40-26 lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter. The jam party in the fourth started with Curtiss at the 4:50 mark. Mullins followed for a 52-29 lead with 3:12 left in the game. And Curtiss flushed a two-handed dunk seconds later, and Mount Si coach Jason Griffith pulled his starters with 2:32 remaining.
“Jabe is such a competitor, he did not want to leave this gym without a trophy,” Griffith said of his senior. “That was the most important thing. The cupcakes, turning 18, was secondary for him.”
Woodinville takes girls title
Winning and solid point guards are themes during Mia Hughes’ career at Woodinville.
The junior helped the undefeated, top-ranked Falcons win their third consecutive KingCo 4A girls basketball championship after beating No. 4 Inglemoor 57-43 at Sammamish High. And this time it was sophomore point guard Veronica Sheffey whipping the ball around the court to insure the win.
“I’ve had super-good point guards who know how to see the floor,” said Hughes, who broke the school’s season and single-game scoring record (38) as a freshman with Regan Schenck doing the passing “As a team, we would not be where we are without Veronica. It’s a dynamic duo in a way.”
It took overtime for the Falcons to defeat the Vikings in their first meeting of the season in December.
The past two wins were by an average of 17 points for Woodinville (22-0), even though Hughes said it felt closer.
The Vikings double-teamed the league MVP, but Sheffey still found Hughes with nifty passes. Sheffey’s pass over Inglemoor defenders on an inbounds play landed in the perfect spot for Hughes to score under the hoop. The shot gave the Falcons a 21-11 lead with 7:14 left in the second quarter.
Inglemoor (17-5) was held without a field goal in the fourth quarter until 2:53 left in the game. Sheffey and Hughes were substituted out of the game with the win in hand.
Hughes finished with 23 points, making 9 of 10 free throws. Sheffey finished with 13 points and eight assists.
Inglemoor juniors Abby Haller and Isabella Reed led their team with 10 points each.
“This gives us a little boost,” Sheffey said of heading into the Wes-King tournament next week as a No. 1 seed. “Teams are going to be coming after us, so we have to be ready for that.”