By David Krueger Herald Writer
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Even though he was down in southern California, Dan Kingma looked like he was shooting comfortably in his backyard.
The Jackson point guard had 31 points — including seven 3-pointers — to help the Timberwolves defeat Columbia Christian (Portland, Ore.) 68-48 in the quarterfinals of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic Friday night at Rancho Mirage High School.
“Obviously (Kingma’s) capable of putting up those kind of numbers and shooting well,” said Jackson head coach Steven Johnson. “That being said, as a guy who’s a pretty good shooter he was particularly hot. And we did a good job of finding him. We definitely found the hot guy.”
The win sends Jackson to today’s semifinal round, where it faces Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.). LBP beat Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.) 90-89 in double overtime late Friday night.
Jackson may well need another big performance from Kingma, who lit up the scoreboard with 21 points in the first half as Jackson built a 36-25 halftime lead. The senior point guard scored the first eight points of the game.
“Most of my shots were off of kickouts from Jason (Todd) and Brian (Zehr) and the big guys,” Kingma said. “They did a great job of going inside-out. Most of my shots came from those great passes.”
The Timberwolves outscored Columbia Christian 21-9 in the second quarter and 32-19 in the second half.
“They had two really good big guys on their team. They play really good defense so I thought I had to be really aggressive,” Kingma said. “My teammates did a really good job.”
“I was just aggressive from the start. I was confident and they needed me to score.”
Jason Todd added 16 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for Jackson. However, Todd’s greatest contribution may have come on defense, where he held Columbia Christian star Kameron Chatman to 12 points.
“He guarded Chatman, their best player who’s heading to Michigan, and he held him to 12 points,” Johnson said. “We had a great gameplan I thought. But he was the one guarding him. He always wants to guard the best player. We didn’t even need to discuss that.”
Freshman Isaac Bonton led Columbia Christian (7-2 overall) with 18 points. The Jackson defense limited Knights star players Chatman, who scored 28 points in the Knights’ first-round game, to just 12 and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan — who had 20 points Thursday night — to just seven on Friday.
“We definitely recognized that they had one really, really good player and then another Division-1 player,” Johnson said. “We had the philosophy that we were going to force some other people to beat us.”
Columbia Christian is a 1A school from Portland that has routinely competed with higher classification schools in Oregon. The Knights will take on the loser of the Long Beach Poly-Wenonah game in the consolation bracket.
Jackson (4-0) remains in the winners’ bracket and looks forward to its next game Saturday evening against Long Beach Poly.
“If you were sitting here watching these two teams, we don’t have any time to worry about (an emotional high),” said Johnson over the phone while in the gym watching the Wenonah-Long Beach Poly game. “We’re going to play another athletic team either way. That’s why we’re down here. We want to test ourselves again. Getting a win and staying in the winners’ bracket, we’ve gotten that opportunity.”
Kingma said he participated in a 3-point shootout-like event the first day of the tournament. He hasn’t heard anything about a possible championship round, but said that he didn’t do too well.
“I actually shot in a 3-point thing the first day. I haven’t heard anything,” Kingma said. “I don’t know if there’s a championship round. I didn’t shoot well, though. I came out cold. It was my first shots after Christmas with no warm-ups.”
Fortunately for the Timberwolves, Kingma shot well Friday night.
At Rancho Mirage H.S.
Jackson 15 21 14 18 — 68
Columbia Christian 16 9 10 13 — 48
Jackson—Nick Hovorka 2, Dan Kingma 31, Jason Todd 16, Brian Zehr 6, Marcus Blake 0, Holden Roberts 0, Connor Willgress 2, Dylan Mitchell 0, Frank Rossi 0, Sam Saufferer 7, Blake Ozuna 2, Riley Waite 2, Isaiah Patrick. Columbia Christian—Isaac Bonton 18, Israel Hammond 6, Robert Bristol 2, Luke Moody 3, Kameron Chatman 12, Arkadiy Mkrtychyan 7. 3-point goals—Kingma 7, Bonton 2, Todd, Saufferer, Moody. Records—Jackson 4-0 overall. Columbia Christian 7-2.