By David Krueger Herald Writer
TACOMA – Jackson freshman Faithaleen Lopez-Flores did not enjoy her first ever trip to the Tacoma Dome.
Her second trip, however, was a different story.
A day after losing to Mount Rainier, the Jackson girls basketball team bounced back, thanks to 10 points by Lopez-Flores in the second quarter that sparked a 21-6 run and helped the Timberwolves pull away and defeat Eastlake 62-57 in a consolation game of the 4A state tournament early Friday morning at the Tacoma Dome.
“Having Faithaleen come in and hit those shots in the second quarter, that was such a moment for the freshman,” said Timberwolves’ head coach Jeannie Boyer after the game.
Jackson trailed 19-12 when the first quarter ended, but jumped out to an 8-0 run as the second began, and took a 21-19 lead about three minutes in. Lopez-Flores made her first four field goal attempts and added two free throws as Jackson went into halftime with a 33-25 point lead.
The Timberwolves would need all of those points, as Eastlake came charging back in the second half behind the 31 points of Wolves’ senior Kendra Morrison. Eastlake got to within one point with one minute, 42 seconds to play, but Sierra Hagans made a free throw and Sierra Anderson added a layup soon after and the Timberwolves padded their lead in the game’s final minute.
“Today the kids stepped up and played with confidence,” Boyer said. “I was very thankful we responded. They’re competitive. They really, really wanted to win this game.”
After the game Lopez-Flores, who had never stepped inside the Tacoma Dome in her life before the state tournament, said she was just trying to help her team out.
“I just felt like today my team needed a little spark,” Lopez-Flores said. “All of a sudden, we’re like, ‘oh, we can win this.’”
“Faithaleen Lopez-Flores is a stud,” said Jackson sophomore Kingma.
Anderson had a team-high 18 points and Kingma bounced back from a seven-point outing Thursday to score 16, grab a team-high nine rebounds and steal the ball seven times. Kingma said that while “it’s hard to shoot in a dome,” the Timberwolves’ second outing in it was easier because they shed some of the nerves that afflicted them in their previous game.
“After playing yesterday we got our nerves out,” Kingma said. “We felt that we didn’t play as good as we can yesterday.”
Boyer said it was a “different day” for the Timberwolves, who lost 57-39 to Mount Rainier, the No. 2 team in the state according to the Associated Press poll, on Thursday. The offense came alive in Jackson’s second game at the state tournament, despite a constant full-court trap defense employed by the Wolves that helped force 21 Jackson turnovers.
The Timberwolves advance to the fourth/sixth place game today at 8 a.m. where they will face Woodinville, which beat Federal Way after Jackson’s victory. Regardless of the outcome, the Jackson Timberwolves will have their highest finish ever at the girls state basketball tournament.
Jackson’s previous best was eighth place in 2007.
“This is the most talented team we’ve ever had as a whole,” Boyer said.
The players know this is their chance to write Jackson basketball history, and they’re determined to finish strong at the 2012 4A state tournament.
“I really want to win tomorrow,” Lopez-Flores said. “We’re bringing back some hardware. We’re breaking Jackson history.”
“We’re not done yet,” Kingma said.
At the Tacoma Dome
Eastlake–Mortenson 6, McCabe 1, Morrison 31, Zennan 2, Carlson 10, Boe 0, Vanderschaaf 0, Files 2, Douglas 5. Jackson–K. Kingma 16, Rawlins 0, Anderson 18, Lopez-Flores 10, B. Kingma 0, Hagans 3, M. Johnson 0, A. Johnson 4, Stoffel 9, Gjertsen 2. 3-point goals–Mortenson 1, Morrison 6, Carlson 1, K. Kingma 2, Anderson 1. Records–Eastlake 15-11 overall. Jackson 21-5.