By David Krueger Herald Writer
Everyone knows the Jackson boys basketball team is good.
That’s not exactly breaking news.
The Timberwolves are No. 1 in the Herald all-area Power Poll and the No. 4 team in 4A in the latest Associated Press poll. They’re a perfect 16-0.
They can blow teams out, as evidenced by Jackson’s 87-47 win over Kamiak on Dec. 20. That was the first time I saw Jackson this season. At the time, the Knights were in second place in the Wesco 4A South and I was covering the game because we at The Herald thought it would be a close game.
We’re not always right.
Jackson has spent all season winning basketball games. Some have been close, some have been less close, and some – like Monday – even involved coming from behind.
It hasn’t happened often this season. Three times by point guard Dan Kingma’s count – Monroe, Edmonds-Woodway and, on Monday, Bellevue.
The Timberwolves had to come from behind to beat the Wolverines 58-55 at the King Holiday Tournament at Seattle Pacific University on Monday. While it wasn’t completely unchartered territory, it was an unusual situation for Jackson.
“It’s different, obviously, when you’re not accustomed to it,” said Jason Todd, the Timberwolves’ star junior guard/forward. “We showed great poise. We got a great point guard in Dan. We were fortunate to get him going in the second half.”
Kingma scored 16 points – all in the second half – as Jackson completed the comeback, proving that Jackson can even win those rare games where it doesn’t jump out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter.
“We just figured out a way to win,” Kingma said. “And that’s what we like to do.”
Kingma’s not wrong. The Timberwolves have found 16 ways to win. If they find one more, they’ll clinch the 4A South league title. They’re the team that nobody wants to face right now.
Jackson has so many weapons. Talking the Timberwolves up makes me feel like Herald Writer Aaron Lommers who, for some reason, is in love with the Wesco South. But it’s true.
Todd and Brian Zehr can score inside. Or hit the mid-range jumper. Or make the long-range 3-pointer.
Kingma, aside from being an excellent ball handler, can also shoot from behind the 3-point arc.
After starting Monday’s game 0-for-8, Kingma hit four 3’s while scoring 16 points in the second half to help spearhead Jackson’s comeback.
“I knew that Dan could shoot better,” said Jackson head coach Steve Johnson. “He’s not going to miss forever. It was a big key to the game for us when he started making shots. If he doesn’t score we’re obviously in big trouble.”
Kingma, despite a first-half shooting slump, knew it was only a matter of time before he found his shot.
“I just kept shooting,” said Kingma. “In the first half I got good looks they just weren’t going in. I hit those shots all the time. It wasn’t nerves. It was adrenaline, which is a good thing.”
At the beginning of the season, we had a poll here on the Prepzone blog asking which team you guys thought would be undefeated at the end of the season. We talked in the podcast and all made our predictions, with the addendum that having a perfect season – at least a regular season – was next to impossible.
Well, Jackson’s awfully close. And really we shouldn’t be surprised.
We at The Herald always remain unbiased among the teams we cover. But, if we’re being completely honest, we root for all the local teams.
Part of that is we want to see all the athletes we talk to and write about succeed. They all seem like great kids, and we want them to do well.
The other part is we – like you – really, really like road tripping down to the Tacoma Dome.
If Jackson continues to roll, it looks like we’ll be down in Tacoma come March. And I, for one, don’t think they’ll be the only local team down there.
I’ve already put “T-Dome” in my phone’s calendar.