The Islanders defeated Gilbert High School to close out pool play at the Arizona Basketball Challenge, 50 -45, on Friday and defeated Desert Vista (AZ), 66-50, in a final Saturday game to finish 3-1 in the Arizona Basketball Challenge in Mesa, AZ.
On Friday, Mercer Island (10-1) moved the ball well and earned good shots in a defensive battle against Gilbert, ending game shooing 50 percent from the field.
The Islanders were led again by their senior co-captain Joe Rasmussen who ended as the game's high scorer and rebounder with 24 points and 14 boards. Gilbert's sophomore post player, Truman Moore, playing just two weeks after losing his father, defended the post well in the first half but Joe wore down their frontline and dominated the paint.
"Gilbert was a really solid team," said Islanders head coach Gavin Cree. "We were fortunate to beat them. Gilbert only turned the ball over 3 times all game. They don't beat themselves. "
Cree also lauded the play of his team's leaders.
"Joe Rasmussen was an absolute beast today," he said. "He dominated play out there. Nick Nordale also helped to control the action all game long; he's our leader."
Nordale dropped in 5 field goals, ending the game with 10 points, and led the team with 5 assists. Will Taylor came off the bench to provide an important offensive spark, ending with 8 points. Kaleb Warner added 6 points and played tough defense on their top scorer, Connor Helvig, holding him to 3 of 12 from the field.
On Saturday, Mercer Island defeated Desert Vista (AZ), 66-50, thanks to strong rebounding and scoring from the bench. Nordale led the Islanders with 18 points, followed by Warner with 14, Rasmussen with 11, Shaddle with 9, and Espen with 8 points. Shaddle also added 6 rebounds and 4 assists, both team highs.
The Islander Boys Basketball varsity team next faces the Bellevue Wolverines at the Mercer Island High School Gym on Friday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.