The Mercer Island boys 8th grade Eastside Traveling League (ETL) basketball team, coached by Patrick Frost, chalked up another tournament championship over President’s Day weekend in Stanwood. The ETL team put together a string of five consecutive victories over the course of the three-day weekend to take the title.
The first pair of wins were lopsided victories in pool play over Meadowdale (57-34) and Lakewood (79-16). After winning their pool, the Islanders faced Kings in a quarterfinal game. The game was close for the first half before the Islanders pulled away for a 51-27 victory. The next game was a semifinal against the WESCO leading host, Stanwood Spartans. The game with Stanwood was tight throughout. Every time Mercer Island built a lead the Spartans rallied to close the gap. In the end, the Islanders were victorious 50-42.
The win over Stanwood put the Islanders in the championship game against Ferndale. As it was throughout the tournament, Mercer Island’s defense was the key. Ferndale kept the game close but the aggressive Mercer Island defense continuously turned away Ferndale’s attempts to rally. The Islanders, known for their toughness, took multiple charging fouls at key points throughout the game. The final score was Mercer Island 43, Ferndale 37.
For the tournament, Mercer Island allowed an average of only 31 points per game, while scoring an average of 56. Coach Frost was very proud of the boys effort, particular on the defensive end of the floor.
The Girls' ETL squads also took home titles, with the 6th Grade ETL team going 5-0 to win the tournament in their division in a thrilling finale against hometown favorites Stanwood. The 7th Grade Girls ETL team also won their tournament division.
In the 7th grade boys division, the Mercer Island ETL team was also very successful. The team went undefeated on Saturday and Sunday to qualify for the championship game. In the final game, despite missing some key players, the team battled against Ferndale but came up a few points short and settled for a second place finish in the 7th grade division.
8th grade ETL - 1st place with 5-0 record
7th grade ETL - 2nd place with either 3-1 or 4-1 record
5th grade - 5th place with 4-1 record
6th grade - 1st place with 5-0 record (defeating host Stanwood in a thriller final)
7th grade - 1st place with 4-0 record
8th grade - 4th place with 3-2 record
4 girls teams were 16-3 for the weekend
Organized by the Mercer Island Basketball Booster Club, ETL is the highest caliber of youth basketball available on the Island. According to the MIBBC, the ETL-level is the best choice for kids who are seeking more competitive play, are willing to prioritize the ETL team over other sports or teams during the basketball season, and who are willing and able to devote material time to practices, training, games, and tournaments.