Mount Si boys learn about more than basketball at Holiday Classic

January 9, 2013

By Michele Mihalovich


Mount Si High School boys basketball team enjoying a little down time at the Pacific Ocean between games at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego, held Dec. 26-29.

While the rest of Snoqualmie Valley enjoyed their Christmas loot, the Mount Si High School boys basketball team boarded a plane for the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego.

This is the third holiday classic coach Steve Helm has organized for the boys to attend.

The first was in Boston, and last year they traveled to Maui, Hawaii.

Helm said these tournaments are doing more than just keeping the players focused on basketball during the Christmas break.

“This is a great learning experience for them,” he said. “They’re learning how to travel, board a plane, navigate airports. Some of them have never flown before or left the Valley. So, not only are they playing basketball, but they’re also being exposed to new cultures, learning history. This year they got to experience a sunny day at the Pacific Ocean and visited Sea World. Some may never get back to these places, so I think that’s the main reason I like to take them. But, these trips are also a great time for team bonding, which is everything you could want as a coach.”

The first day of play at the Classic was Dec. 26, when the Wildcats went up against Aliso Niguel High School, a team ranked seventh in southern California, Helm said.

Two of his star players had to sit out of the tournament due to injuries: guard/forward Trent Riley suffered lower back pain and some achilles issues, and guard Levi Botton continued to nurse a sprained ankle, Helm said.

The Wildcats lost that game 46-43. The following day, Mount Si took a 71-63 beating from Mission Prep, and on Dec. 28, lost to Walnut Grove Gators, the second ranked team out of Vancouver, B.C., he said.

Mount Si did come away with a win the next day, however, beating Yale Secondary, ranked number three in Abbotsford, B.C., 59-51.

Now that the Wildcats are back on Washington soil, it was time to get back into KingCo conference play.

Helm said he finally got Riley and Botton back on the court for the Jan. 4 game against Sammamish, when the team had a 64-41 win over the Bellevue team. Wildcats overall record stands at 6-1.


Michele Mihalovich: 392-6434, ext. 246, or


Up next

Mount Si vs. Lake Washington

  •  8 p.m. Jan. 11
  • At Lake Washington High School
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