MILL CREEK — The Jackson boys basketball team was getting sick of going up against the Jackson boys basketball team.
After scrimmaging against themselves for more than three weeks, the Timberwolves were ready to see a different opponent.
Jackson responded to the new faces by shooting 54 percent from the field — including 12 3-pointers — as it got its season underway with a 79-60 win over Wesco 4A South rival Edmonds-Woodway Friday night at Jackson High School.
“It was weird. It was a different dynamic having this long layoff,” Jackson head coach Steve Johnson said. “It was different. But we talked about it. We knew it was going to be like that.”
With Jackson playing in the prestigious MaxPreps Holiday Classic tournament later this month, four of the Timberwolves’ five non-conference games were taken up. Jackson will play in the King Holiday Hoopfest at Seattle Pacific University in January, which uses up its other non-league contest.
It all added up to the Timberwolves opening their season with a league match against Edmonds-Woodway on the 13th of December, Jackson’s first game since finishing second in last year’s Class 4A state championship.
“It’s awesome just to start playing other teams,” Jackson point guard Dan Kingma said. “We’ve got some things now to work on, but it was a lot of fun.”
Edmonds-Woodway (0-1 league, 0-3 overall) — which had played two games going into Friday night — played Jackson tough last season, losing two league games by a combined seven points.
But in this contest it was all Jackson, which started the game with 32 points in the first quarter to pull away early. The Warriors made a 7-0 run in the third quarter to get to within 10 points, but Jason Todd scored Jackson’s first eight points in the fourth and Dan Kingma added his fourth 3-pointer of the game soon after to help the Timberwolves pull away.
“When our shots are falling, we’re going to keep shooting,” Kingma said. “Hopefully we keep shooting that well.”
Todd had a game-high 25 points for Jackson and Kingma added 21 points and eight assists. Both players had four 3-pointers, the bulk of which came in the first half when the Timberwolves built a 50-35 halftime lead.
“We weren’t expecting that at all,” Todd said of Jackson’s high shooting percentage. “Edmonds-Woodway’s a great team. We were fortunate our shots were falling.”
Jason Smarr led Edmonds-Woodway with 20 points. Travis Bakken had a double-double for the Warriors with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“I think Woodway’s a good team. I don’t care if they’re 0-3,” Johnson said. “They’ve played three really good teams. I think them being 0-3 is pretty deceiving.”
Said Kingma: “They’re a good team. They always give us a good matchup. We’ve just got to give them our best game.”
There were no nerves for Jackson in the game. Todd and Kingma said the Timberwolves were excited to play against a new opponent in a gym packed with spectators.
“We start five seniors, so we’re pretty experienced as far as nerves go,” Todd said.
And now that they’ve got their first win under their belt in convincing fashion, don’t expect the Timberwolves to let up any time soon as they look to get back to the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
“We have to improve as the season goes along,” Johnson said. “Come February, this game will seem like forever ago.”
At Jackson H.S.
Edmonds-Woodway 15 20 16 9 — 60
Jackson 32 18 14 15 — 79
Edmonds-Woodway—Trey Holland 4, Kelvin Dankwa 0, Jordan Rice 2, Brady Edwards 0, Tate Budnick 11, Ibro Polovina 3, Antonio Sherrill 2, Theo Lebesis 4, Jason Smarr 20, Travis Bakken 14. Jackson—Nick Hovorka 2, Dan Kingma 21, Jason Todd 25, Brian Zehr 15, Marcus Blake 7, Holden Roberts 0, Connor Willgress 7, Dylan Mitchell 0, Frank Rossi 1, Sam Saufferer 0, Blake Ozuna 1, Riley Waite 0, Isaiah Patrick 0. 3-point goals—Budnick 1, Smarr 4, Kingma 4, Todd 4, Zehr 1, Blake 2, Willgress 1. Records—Edmonds-Woodway 0-1 league, 0-3 overall. Jackson 1-0, 1-0.
The Jackson boys basketball team is REALLY good. Timberwolves beat Edmonds-Woodway 79-60 in their season opener. #wabkbscores
— David Krueger (@Krueger_David) December 14, 2013