Mercer Island Girls Basketball Survives Interlake on Senior Night


Photo by Emily Fain and Katie Friedman

Emily Fain and Katie Friedman

Mercer Island Girls Basketball scraped together a narrow 36-32 win against the Interlake Saints in a rigorous back and forth senior night showdown.

An enthusiastic crowd filled the stands as the three seniors, Ally Merritt, Lauren Wainwright and Nandini Rathod celebrated the completion of their MIGB careers with family and friends in/with the senior start.

Interlake’s defense advanced despite freshman Anna Marsh’s persistent blocking. The Islanders ended the first quarter trailing by three points with a bare score of 7-4.

Mercer Island’s offense struggled to get the ball in the hoop, but their defense dominated on the home side of the court, maintaining close numbers. Following three successful free throws made by sophomore Caitlin Monahan, the Islanders ended the half ahead with a tight score of 17-14.

“ I think we really excelled at our defense tonight,” Merritt said. “We shut down this one player, number zero, who’s normally really good.”

The second half began on a thrilling note, with freshman, Kiera Kelley, flawlessly executing a three-pointer, but the smooth riding didn’t last. The Islander’s defense started to fall short as Interlake’s offense recovered with a jolt of energy, resulting in a score of 22-27 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter brought impressive energy from the crowd as Mercer Island was finally finishing their shots.

“Normally when that happens, [when] we aren’t making any shots, our morale drops to the floor and we stop shooting,” Merritt said. “But I am so proud that we kept shooting.”

Free throw execution proved to be crucial for the Islanders within the fourth quarter. As the quarter unfolded, the Saint’s defense broke down. Following her game-tying three-pointer, junior Lauren Monahan blocked an offensive pass, assisting sister Caitlin Monahan in putting the Islanders in the lead with a three-pointer of her own, with only 17 seconds remaining.

“I feel really fulfilled and this was a great way to end my time here but I am so sad to leave,” Merritt said. “I don’t want to leave any of these people because they are like my best friends.”

The stadium radiated positivity as the crowd roared with hopeful encouragement and the Islanders stayed resilient and light-spirited, cheering each other one from the court and sideline without fail.

“I hope people just remember me as someone who is always cheering them on,” Merritt said. “I don’t get a ton of playing time and sometimes [that] makes me feel like I am not very beneficial to the team, but I know that the energy that I bring is really helpful to the girls.”

MIGB will play their last regular-season game at Bellevue High School on Wednesday, Feb. 2.