Three thoughts from Mercer Island’s 66-54 win against Bellevue:
1. Mercer Island is easily a top-five team in 3A right now. The Islanders have lost only one game – by a point to a team from Ohio that has a player committed to Ohio State. Other than that, the Islanders have handled their biggest tests so far, knocking off Bellevue and Mount Si, the two teams picked second or third in the league heading into the year.
2. Mercer Island’s guards are underrated. Joe Rasmussen had 27 points and 6-foot-6 wing man Kaleb Warner had 11 points while the 6-foot-5 Nick Nordale chipped in eight. Those three have done the bulk of Mercer Island’s scoring this season. But I came away really impressed the Islanders’ guards – Will Taylor, Daniel Sims and Jake Shaddle. Shaddle had 10 points and rattled off a deep three, a steal, two assists and took a charge in one three-minute span. Will Taylor has a nose for the ball, finishing with eight points and five rebounds and being involved all game. Those guys are small and not imposing physically, but they can play.
3. Bellevue will be right there by the end of the season. The Wolverines didn’t play their first game until mid-December because of the football team’s late run. Then they lost their two point guards – Sharif Khan and Kyle Foreman – to injury (They should be back in three or four weeks, coach Chris O’Connor said). The message O’Connor left his team with after the game on Friday was simple: At some point, the Wolverines are going to get in a rhythm and click. They’re 6-4 and haven’t played poorly, but you get the sense that Bellevue will be a really tough out later in the year.