The Mercer Island boys basketball team will face Bellevue in the KingCo league tournament final after defeating Liberty on Tuesday night in a lopsided 56 - 25 victory in the legaue semi-final game.
The Islanders (19-2, 14-1) raced out to a 14-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, holding the Patriots scoreless for the first 6:45 of the game, and never looked back.
Espen Platou scored 10 in the first half, pacing the Islanders to a 33 - 9 first half advantage, and finished the game with a career-high 15 points. Kaleb Warner added 12 and Nick Nordale scored 10. Joe Rasmussen ended with 8 points, Jake Shaddle 5, Jake Stenberg 3, Daniel Sims 2 and Max Tilden 1. The Patriots (8-13, 6-10) were led by Robert Thomas who scored 11 points. The Islanders showed tremendous energy on defense, holding Liberty's leading scorers Mathew Campbell and Tynan Gilmore to 6 and 5 points respectively.
Coach Cree said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“Our overall intensity level tonight was tremendous," he said. "We sustained defensive effort for 32 minutes. I was really pleased with that. Espen Platou came to play tonight. He was tough. We need him to continue that throughout the playoffs. He can be a special player for us when he's playing that way.”
The Islanders face Bellevue in the KingCo Championship game this Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Bellevue College.