Mercer Island struggled early at home Tuesday, Jan. 9, but took over in the second half to top Lake Washington, 59 to 41. The Islanders size advantage ultimately proved too much for the Kangaroos to handle, with MI winning the battle on the glass by a sizable margin.
The game was close through the first quarter with Lake Washington concentrating their defensive efforts on slowing down Joe Rasmussen. They did a great job of containing Joe for a while, but he dominated the second half ending with 26 points and 16 rebounds.
"I thought we came out flat tonight and overall didn't play our best basketball. Give Lake Washington some credit for that," said Islanders head coach Gavin Cree. "They were flying around in their zone and caused us to work the ball for long possessions. They sagged in hard on the post and it wasn't our best shooting performance. We'll go back to work and prepare for our next opponent."
Jake Stenberg provided a critical offensive spark in the second quarter, coming off the bench and hitting back to back threes, ending with those 6 points, to put the Islanders up 7 and the team never looked back. Nick Nordale ended the game with 12, Kaleb Warner added 11 and. Max Tilden and Espen Platou each contributed 2 points. Jamal Muhammad let the Kangs with 16 points and Jeffrey Staudacher added 9 in the losing effort.
Assistant Coach Marshall Jamieson, speaking on HotJamz Radio after the game noted an improvement in defense over the course of the game, "Our guys did a better job in the second half closing out on their shooters. Lake Washington has a lot of guys that shoot the ball well."
The Islanders remain undefeated in KingCo play this season, and they take their show on the road this Friday, playing at Juanita at 8 p.m.