Mercer Island was hoping to even the score with their Bellevue rivals in the 2A/3A KingCo league finale Friday night at Mercer Island High School.
The Islanders had dropped the season’s previous matchup between the two teams on Jan. 13 at Bellevue High School, but were missing a key starter for their lone league loss of the year.
Though that wasn’t the case this time around, the Bellevue Wolverines showed once again why few teams have taken them to the wire this season.
In dominating fashion, Bellevue hammered Mercer Island 73-42 Friday, wrapping up a perfect 12-0 season in 2A/3A KingCo competition. The Wolverines will enter the postseason as the top seed in the 3A KingCo tournament.
“We wanted to make sure that we brought our ‘A’ game,” Bellevue coach Leah Krautter said. “This win or loss doesn’t affect our seeding going into the playoffs, so sometimes teams tend to take that lightly. Our girls were ready, we know we have a little bit of a rivalry with Mercer Island. We just wanted to play hard. We knew they were going to bring the energy against us, which they did.”
The Wolverines (20-0, 12-0) were out in front early and never let up, creating turnovers and not allowing the Islanders (16-3, 10-2) inside the paint. Bellevue’s defense held Mercer Island to single digits in each of the game’s first two quarters. On the offensive end, the Wolverines were humming on execution. Bellevue closed the first period on a 13-2 run to lead 26-8 and used a 12-0 run at the end of the second quarter to take a 42-16 advantage at the break.
“We always pride ourselves on defense and working on our defense,” “On offense, we kind of just like to play basketball and kind of let it flow on fast break. Our defense helps us create our offense, so normally we just focus on playing hard D and then our offense will just cover it.”
Mercer Island coach Gillian d’Hondt said she thought her team slipped out of the game mentally after staring down an early deficit against an aggressive opponent.
“Hopefully we’ll start improving on how we handle pressure, because that’s something that’s been our Achilles heel,” d’Hondt said. “The main thing is we just got to get tougher overall, mentally, physically [and] emotionally.”
Bellevue had three scorers reach double figures including Anna Wilson scoring 16 to go along with 11 assists and four steals.
Next, Mercer Island and Bellevue will begin 3A KingCo tournament competition Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Newport High School. Mercer Island will be the second seed in the 3A KingCo tournament.