The slow starts continue, but the Lady Islanders found the second-half spark they needed to claim victory over Seattle Prep, 57-45.
Mercer Island's back court led the way, with sophomore guard Kris Brackmann leading all scorers with 19 points and senior captain Halley Gullstad with 17. Seattle Prep's Quinn Glosniak was the Panther's top scorer with 17 points.
Seemingly following the same game plan as their , Mercer Island was tentative and clumsy with the ball to start as Panthers star Kari Luttinen managed six steals in the first half, converting them into 10 points.
Down 30-23 at halftime, the Lady Islanders (17-10) defense—led by senior Sarah Taylor and sophomore Christina Williamson—went into lockdown mode and held Seattle Prep scoreless for nearly 7 minutes. Mercer Island grabbed the lead on a quick succession of plays sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Islander Jae Shin. Mercer Island would go on an 18-0 run in the third quarter and never looked back.
The Islander's skill from the foul line also played a role as they made 12 of 13 free throws.
Mercer Island girls head coach Jamie Prescott said the keys to their success lay with an increased emphasis on rebounding and being aggressive as they were against Cleveland.
"We seemed to follow a similar game plan," she said. "Fundamentally, we're pretty sound on defense ... But for this game, we had to focus more on rebounding."
Seattle Prep Panthers (16-8) head coach Michelle Hall shook her head at the end of the game in disbelief following a first half performance where "everything" was working.
"It was the second half," she said. "That was a let down in the second half."
Mercer Island next face undefeated Holy Names (23-0) at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 19) in the SeaKing District 2 Championship Game at Bellevue College.