Too tall, too quick and too much.
Mount Si used a size advantage, sharp ball movement, stout defense and a deadly transition attack to bounce the Eagles from the state boys basketball championship chase Thursday night.
Behind Jabe Mullins’ 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals in nearly 32 minutes of action, the third-ranked Wildcats from Snoqualmie jumped out to a big lead early and held steady for a 61-49 quarterfinal victory over the No. 11 Eagles in the 4A Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome.
Mount Si (24-4) advances to play Glacier Peak of Snohomish (25-0) in the semifinals Friday.
Federal Way (24-6) meets Sumner (20-7) in an elimination game on the consolation side of the brackets. Tipoff is 2 p.m. Friday in the Dome. The Eagles – still in the running for a fourth-place finish – have left the Dome with trophy chrome in each of the past five years.
All of which kept Federal Way’s Peter Erickson looking ahead to getting back to work.
“We just have to keep our heads up because we still could have possibly two more days (of play),” said Erickson, a 6-foot-6 senior who was held to seven points. “We have to keep our heads up and keep playing because there’s no changing to what just happened. We have to make the best of it because people are at home watching. Be grateful that we are still here.”
Federal Way coach Yattah Reed offered no excuses afterward. The Eagles, who shone in a 78-57 opening-round win against Battle Ground on Wednesday, were outshot (59 to 40 percent) and outrebounded (28-21) while coughing up 13 turnovers against Mount Si.
“Their length bothered us,” Reed said. “But at the end of the day, when you get to this point, it’s all about execution. I thought they executed better than we did. … They just outplayed us.”
“The first quarter hurt us. It gave us such a hole (21-10 deficit). And when you’re playing a good team it’s hard to get back, especially when they’re not turning the ball over and moving the ball well.”
Mullins, a four-star recruit bound for St. Mary’s College (Moraga, Calif.), sparked the Wildcats. The 6-6 senior guard buried deep jumpers, drove inside for baskets and distributed the ball to open teammates for easy points. He scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half.
“We knew we had to get off to a fast start, and that’s what we did,” Mullins said. “We built confidence to show them that we were the better team.
“Federal Way … they’re a real scrappy team,” he added. “They get up and down the floor, that’s what they like to do. They like to put up a lot shots, so we knew we had to control the offense, the tempo and the game. We had to stop them in transition and execute on offense.”
Mullins and Co. proved to be a matchup problem for the Eagles’ man-to-man and trapping zone defenses.
“It was difficult because (Mullins) handled the pressure. He scored when they needed to score and got the ball to his teammates. He is someone … who can rebound and push the ball. … He’s a tough player.”
Eagles guard Jaden Call said Mullins was as good as advertised, running and getting to the right spots at the right time.
Mount Si led 33-19 at the break and expanded the margin to 37-18, its largest, early in the third quarter.
Federal Way closed to within 56-44 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter before Mullins converted a three-point play and later added a breakaway jam just as the final horn sounded.
Tyler Patterson, a 6-7 senior guard, and Hayden Curtiss, a 6-9 senior forward, each had 13 points for Mount Si.
Jared Franklin and Jaylen-Wes Williams each had eight points to lead Federal Way.
The Eagles will try to pick up the pieces Friday.
“It stings,” Reed said of the setback. “We’ve got to move on … and not let it carry over to the next game because it could get even ugly. We just need to regroup and focus on the next opponent.”