Jackson loses heartbreaker to Curtis in state title game

Jackson’s bid for a state championship and an undefeated season was turned away on Saturday night as a gallant Timberwolves fourth-quarter comeback came up just short in a 60-56 loss to Curtis at the Class 4A state boys basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome.

After trailing by 12 points late in the third quarter, Jackson pulled within one three times in the final period, the last time at 57-56 on a pair of free throws by guard Dan Kingma with nine seconds on the clock.

But Curtis guard Dominique Jordan followed with two free throws to push the margin back to three points. And when Jackson tried to set up a potential game-tying 3-point attempt on its final possession, guard Jason Todd fumbled the ball and Curtis came up with a steal.

Curtis forward Jaurence Chisolm added a free throw with a second to play for the final four-point margin.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the T-wolves, who had been the state’s only remaining undefeated team. Jackson, which brought a 26-0 record into the title game, was bidding to become the 15th undefeated state champion (in the largest enrollment classification) in state history, and just the fifth in the last 30 years.

“I think you have to give Curtis credit, but we did not play well in the first half,” said Jackson coach Steve Johnson. “I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t quit and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

In the first half “we didn’t play with much recklessness and abandon,” he said. But in the second half “we got after it. We stopped thinking so much and playing more.”

Jackson was led in scoring by Kingma, who shrugged off a difficult first half (no points, three turnovers) to finish with 18 points, including 10 in the last minute and a half.

“Dan’s a competitor,” Johnson said. “He’s a good player. (The Vikings) did a nice job on him defensively in the first half, but I knew he’d get something going.”

Forward Brian Zehr added 15 points and Todd, who shrugged off a second-half left ankle injury to finish the game, scored 10 points to go with nine rebounds.

“I told (Todd) I was proud of him,” Johnson said. “He’s in a lot of pain right now. He was hurt, but he’s a warrior in every sense. Always has (been), always will.”

Jackson’s last play was designed to give Todd a 3-point try, Johnson explained. “We tried to get him running off a double (screen). And he did get the ball running to his right on the 3-point line, which is what we wanted. But in hindsight, trying to get it to a guy on half an ankle … that might be one I think about while jogging.”

Jackson had early leads of 2-0 and 4-2, but then suffered a series of turnovers _ five in the game’s first six minutes _ and five straight field goals by Curtis guard Dominic Robinson, the first a 3-pointer, allowed the Vikings to build a 13-6 lead.

Jackson’s deficit grew to 31-19 at halftime, and it was still in double digits until Kingma swished a 3-pointer from the left angle in the late seconds of the third quarter, pulling the T-wolves within 42-33.

That shot seemed to give Jackson a much-needed spark to start its fourth-quarter rally. The T-wolves opened the period with a 12-4 burst, pulling within 46-45 on a pair of free throws by guard Connor Willgress with just over three minutes remaining.

The Vikings padded their margin back to four, but another Kingma 3-pointer with 43 seconds on the clock made the score 54-53. Once again Curtis pushed the lead back to four before Kingma sank three of four chances at the free throw line and it was one again.

“We talked about at halftime that they were going to come out and make their run,” said Curtis coach Tim Kelly, “(and) they did.”

Jackson, which breezed to Western Conference and Northwest District titles this season, was making its second appearance in the state title game in the last four years. The T-wolves had reached the title game after winning a regional playoff game against Auburn, and then defeated Central Valley and Arlington in Tacoma.

More in Sports

Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Kylee Griffen

The Gonzaga-bound senior star keyed Lake Stevens’ breakthrough season.

The Herald’s 2018 all-area girls basketball teams

PLAYER OF THE YEAR Kylee Griffen, sr., F, Lake Stevens COACH OF… Continue reading

Silvertips beat Royals, move to brink of U.S. Division title

Everett can clinch the title with a win or OTL Saturday, or a Portland loss over its final two games.

All-time stunner: No. 16 UMBC downs No. 1 Virginia

The Retrievers win 74-54 to become the first 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history to beat a No. 1.

Zags, Buckeyes know each other extremely well

The two programs meet up for the second time this season in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32 Saturday.

Seahawks lose DT Richardson to Vikings, sign Dickson

Former Seahawks defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson opted to sign a 1-year deal with the Vikings.

Friday’s prep results

Here are Friday’s prep results, with links to recaps: BASEBALL Wesco 3A… Continue reading

Mariners rally late to defeat Rangers

Daniel Vogelbach continues to hit well, recording a home run and a double.

BLOG: Some final weekend reading before Silvertips host Fan Appreciation Night

The Everett Silvertips play their home finale tonight against Victoria. If they… Continue reading

Most Read