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Islanders Stay Alive in Playoffs, Crushing Franklin 59-35

Mercer Island face Rainier Beach at 3 p.m. Saturday in a winner-takes-all game for a spot in the state tournament.

The Mercer Island Islanders lived to fight another day on Friday afternoon with a lopsided 59-35 defeat of the Franklin Quakers.

The Islanders (19-5, 11-3) came out fast and put Franklin in an impossible position early starting the game on a 15-0 which included two 3-pointers from 1st team all-league senior guard Derek Newhof. Franklin did not score until junior forward Anddrew Hawkins converted a layup with only 45 second to play in the first quarter.

The Quakers (13-11, 11-4) had no answer for senior Kaj Sherman in the first half as the Mercer Island center was continuously fed down low converting easy baskets underneath the hoop throughout the first half. Sherman had 10 points, all of them in the first half as Sherman sat out resting for most of the third and fourth quarters due to the large Islander lead.

A key momentum turner came early in the second quarter. Franklin was cutting into the Mercer Island lead and was trailing 15-5 when senior forward Roger Garrett was called for a personal foul which was immediately followed by a technical foul for arguing the call. Newhof hit both the free throws awarded to the Islanders for Garrett’s technical and on the ensuing Islander possession junior forward Sean Hughes buried a 3-pointer stretching Mercer Island’s lead back to 15 points. The Islanders lead continued to grow for the rest of the first half as senior forward Quinn Sterling pushed the lead to 21 points at halftime by sinking a pair of free throws in the final half minute.

The Islanders maintained a lead in the low 20s through much of the 3rd quarter and junior forward Parker Scott made a layup at the buzzer to push the lead to 25. On the first possession of the 4th quarter the Islander lead immediately became 28 when Sean Hughes sunk an NBA range 3-pointer and Mercer Island cruised the rest of the way.

Quinn Sterling led the Islanders with 17 points and Hughes, Newhof, and Sherman each contributed 10 for Mercer Island. Anddrew Hawkins led all scorers with 21 points for the Quakers.

“For whatever reason we were not confident in the first part of the Chief Sealth game and it cost us the game but I think we got back to understanding how good we can be,” Islander head coach Gavin Cree said after the game.

Cree’s team will look to ride that confidence as the Islanders have another do or die game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. against Seattle's Rainier Beach. The winner will earn a trip to the regional tournament and the loser will be done for the year.

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