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Originally published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM

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Bellevue stays hot; Islanders advance | KingCo 3A Basketball

Finally at full strength, the Bellevue boys blasted Mount Si 78-50 in the KingCo 3A tournament semifinals for the Wolverines' seventh win in eight games.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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BELLEVUE — For most of the season, injuries and academic issues kept Bellevue's boys basketball team from using its complete roster, which many KingCo 3A coaches thought was the league's second-best heading into the season.

Plus, the Wolverines didn't play their first game until mid-December while they waited on football players to return from a deep playoff run.

Bellevue coach Chris O'Connor kept telling his team to be patient, and look where the Wolverines are now: With a 78-50 win against Mount Si on Tuesday in the KingCo 3A tournament semifinals, the Wolverines have won seven of their last eight.

"The most important thing is playing your best basketball in January and February and keep building from there," O'Connor said. "And that's what we're doing right now."

The Wolverines (15-7) put their foot down against Mount Si (14-8) in the third quarter. Senior guard Jackson Rezab scored the quarter's first seven points, leading Bellevue on a 9-0 run and extending the lead to 18.

Later in the quarter, Dylan and Kyle Foreman each knocked down two three-pointers. The Wolverines hit a season-high 11 three-pointers and led by 24 after three quarters. The win made amends for two losses to Mount Si during the regular season.

"We're really starting to get in sync and get in a really good rhythm," said Rezab, who had 15 points. "I think we're getting to be a really good team."

The Wolverines' injuries and eligibility issues led to one positive: It forced others to step forward.

Dylan Foreman, a junior guard, started early in the season but now comes off the bench. Against Mount Si, he hit five three-pointers and led the Wolverines with 17 points. He hadn't scored more than nine in his previous seven games.

"He's really like a sixth starter for us now," O'Connor said.

Mount Si senior Trent Riley had 16 points at halftime, but scored only two more the rest of the way with Bellevue's Timmy Haehl defending him.

Bellevue plays Mercer Island at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bellevue College in the tournament championship game. The Wolverines are the only in-state team to beat Mercer Island this year.

The KingCo 3A tournament winner gets the league's No. 1 seed and a bye in the Sea-King 3A District tournament. The championship-game loser must play an extra game.

Other boys semifinal

Mercer Island 56, Liberty 26

Liberty was scoreless nearly seven minutes into the game as No. 3 Mercer Island (19-2) rolled to the tournament title game. Espen Platou scored 15 to lead the Islanders. Liberty (8-13) faces Mount Si for third place at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Girls semifinals

Mercer Island 54, Juanita 43

A big third quarter propelled Mercer Island (18-4) to Thursday's 8:15 p.m. tournament championship game against Bellevue. Juanita (15-6), which split two regular-season games with the Islanders, plays Liberty at 8:15 p.m. Thursday for third place..

Bellevue 63, Liberty 38

Fifth-ranked Bellevue (20-1) raced to a 26-4 lead and cruised into the KingCo 3A final against Mercer Island. Freshman Shelby Cansler scored 14 points and Kate Holmes 12 for the Wolverines. Avery Granberg led the Patriots (13-9) with 12.

Times staff reporter Ryan Hueter contributed to this report.

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