SNOHOMISH — On a night top scorer Kelli Kingma struggled with her shot, the Jackson girls basketball team used scrappy defense and offensive contributions from other scorers to come within a whisker of knocking off Issaquah in the late moments on Friday night.
But after going on top to stay with 1:22 to play in the game on a 3-pointer by guard Mandie Hill, Issaquah converted six straight free throws in the final minute to hold off the Timberwolves, 55-52, at the Snohomish Holiday Tournament.
“(Issaquah) hit the shots when they counted,” said Jackson coach Mark Haner. “We hit some big shots down the stretch, too, but when you’re trailing and then you foul them and they don’t miss, they’re not doing you the favor that you need.”
In a game that was close throughout — there were two ties and 19 lead changes — the T-wolves got eight points from guard Faithaleen Lopez-Flores and five from guard Sierra Anderson in the fourth quarter. Lopez-Flores scored with a fast break layin with 1:40 remaining to give Jackson a 47-46 lead, but Issaquah countered with Hill’s 3-pointer and, after an offensive rebound, two free throws from guard Tatum Dow for a four-point margin.
Jackson’s deficit was still four points with 10 seconds remaining, but Lopez-Flores dropped in a 3-pointer from left of the key to pull the T-wolves within one, 53-52.
Forced to foul, Jackson sent Issaquah’s Mackenzie Wieburg to the free throw line and she swished her two attempts.
In need of a 3-pointer to tie, the T-wolves got Kingma free at the top of the key, but her shot glanced off the rim at the final horn.
Kingma, a senior guard, finished the night 1-for-13. Her only basket came on a shot from near the free throw line late in the third period.
“Every scorer has had a rough night,” Haner said. “She’ll be fine. She’s a great player, a great shooter, and she did a lot of great things on the court that aren’t going to show up on the stat sheet, and also a lot that will. She got a lot of steals, rebounded very well, but just had a rough night shooting.
“In the second half she took all the right shots,” he said. “They just didn’t fall.”
Despite the loss, Haner is encouraged by his team’s potential.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do when we get into January and into conference play,” he said. “Everybody talks about Kelli, and she is an outstanding player, but we also have Sierra, we have Faith, we have Imari (Clinton). We have more talent then we know what to do with, and now we just have to make sure that talent is working to make itself better.
“We have to make sure that we’re sharing the basketball and playing really solid defense, and (defense) is one of the things we did better tonight. We’re improving little by little. But when we really learn how to use our athletic ability and our basketball IQ and all those things to clamp down (on opponents), I think we could be a very, very good team.”
Hill finished with 21 points to lead all scorers. Anderson was high for Jackson with 18 and Lopez-Flores added 14.
At Snohomish H.S.
Jackson—BFaithaleen Lopez-Flores 14, Sierra Anderson 18, Kelli Kingma 2, Imari Clinton 7, Anna Johnson 6, Drew Locknane 3, Emily Boyd 2. Issaquah—Lauren Longo , Sophie Foreman 0, Tatum Dow 4, Mandie Hill 21, Jozie Crisafulli 2, Hope Dahlquist 6, Ellen MacNary 8, Mackenzie Wieburg 14. 3-point goals—Hill 2, Lopez-Flores 2, Anderson, Locknane. Records—Jackson 4-2 overall. Issaquah 5-3.