For the first time during the 2016-17 season, the Mount Si Wildcats boys basketball team was victorious on the basketball court.
Mount Si snapped a four-game losing streak courtesy of a convincing 71-37 win against the Newport Knights on Dec. 19 at Newport High School in Factoria. Newport dropped to 1-4 with the loss. Mount Si head coach Jason Griffith, who is in his first season with the Wildcats after coaching the Issaquah Eagles boys basketball team for the past several years, earned his first win at his new coaching post.
“We’ve been close. We have played 16 minutes, we’ve played 24 minutes and tonight we played 32,” Griffith said. “Our biggest focus was to put together a complete game. I thought we did a great job. We held a good team to 37 points. We disrupted them the way we wanted to. I’m just proud of the guys.”
Mount Si senior guard Gavin Gorrell, who scored 17 points in the win, said the key to victory against the Knights was on the defensive end of the floor.
“We played really good defense. That is what we have been focusing on. It felt great to get a win under our belt. Now we’re ready to move forward,” Gorrell said. “Defense is really becoming a focal point of our team right now. If we keep building off of that we are going to be alright.”
Griffith said Gorrell is one of the most experienced players on the roster.
“He is one of the guys who played a lot of minutes last year. We count on him to do a lot of things. He is an emotional player and he made a bunch of good plays for us and made his teammates better tonight,” Griffith said.
The Wildcats were amped for the game for a reason other than the basketball court. Gorrell said the team attended the funeral of the grandfather of sophomore teammate Robbie Stevens earlier in the day.
“The win tonight was for Robbie. His grandfather died a couple of days ago and we went to his funeral today as a team. We were out there playing for him (Stevens) and we did it for him. We are one big family,” Gorrell said.
Knights’ second year head coach Rob Marlow believes his team will right the ship despite losing by a significant margin against the Wildcats.
“It is a long season and we got to continue to take every day and try to get better every day. It definitely was not the showing we were hoping to put out on the floor, but attitude and effort is never a question with my guys. These guys will continue to work at practice and compete. We have been a little up and down so far this season. These guys are eager to get better. That is all you can ask for as a coach.”