By David Krueger Herald Writer
Everyone in Mill Creek knows all about the Kingmas.
They’ve seen Kristi play at Jackson High School and then for the University of Washington women’s basketball team. They watched as Brett helped Jackson finish second at the 2010 state tournament during his senior year as a Timberwolf and then take his talents to the University of Oregon.
While the two elder Kingmas have graduated and moved on, the family pipeline continues to feed into the Jackson basketball teams with a new wave of Kingmas: Brooke, Kelli and Dan. The three siblings will look to help their respective teams seek a trophy at this weekend’s state tournament, which starts Thursday morning at the Tacoma Dome.
“It’s pretty unique having the Kingmas … It’s pretty unusual to see a group of kids that are so talented and dedicated,” said Jackson boys’ coach Steve Johnson who coaches Dan. “We’ve been fortunate at Jackson to be the beneficiary of all those kids.”
For a look at the 4A boys games, click here.
Dan bounced between the junior varsity and the varsity teams as a freshman last season, playing with older brother Brett as the Timberwolves went two-and-out at the Tacoma Dome. He missed a good portion of the year with a stress fracture in his foot, but accompanied the team to the Tacoma Dome.
In Dan’s first full season of high school basketball, Johnson has really been impressed with how his sophomore guard has continued to improve game after game.
“I’ve been really pleased and happy with how he’s played,” Johnson said. “He’s a real hard-working kid. Like all the Kingmas.”
Johnson avoided comparing Dan to his older brother Brett, saying that they’re two completely different players, and Dan still has a lot of time left at Jackson to continue to hone his skills.
For a look at the 4A girls games, click here.
“You can’t compare him to his brother and sister. That’s a tough act to follow. I never compare them. He’s a darn good player in his own right, and a young player with two full seasons to go in his high school career.
“I know that he’s already had a great sophomore year and he’s going to have a great high school career.”
When asked about his brother, Dan sounds just like his coach.
“A lot of people think there’s a lot of pressure,” Dan said. “I just treat it like I’m going to be myself. I don’t try to live up to what my brother and sister have done. I’m just my own player. I just try to be as good as I can be.”
Dan, like his twin sister, Kelli, is a point guard, while younger sister Brooke is a shooting guard for the Timberwolves. Johnson said that in the playoffs Dan has had a three-to-one turnover-to-assist ratio, and has started hitting some “huge shots” to help the Timberwolves on the offensive end.
“He’s really just a pure point guard,” Johnson said. “He’s able to handle the ball and carry the team.”
Hours before Dan and his team take on Union at 7:15 p.m., Kelli and Brooke will be leading the Jackson girls team against Mount Rainier at 10:30 a.m.. Kelli said she doesn’t think about her famous last name too often.
“Obviously people kind of know who our older siblings are,” she said. “We don’t feel any different. Other people think it’s cool.”
Jackson head girls coach Jeannie Boyer, who knew the younger Kingmas were on their way once Kristi graduated, said it’s a huge boost to have Brooke and Kelli on the team.
Not only are they athletic, she said, but they also know what to do once they get the basketball.
“Obviously they play a huge role for us,” Boyer said. “They play tons of minutes each of them. The biggest attribute I think they both contribute is they’re very smart players. They’ve played a lot of basketball and have a lot of knowledge about the game. They’re calm too.”
Brooke and Kelli have been practicing for this weekend for a while. The two will help lead their girls team, which is at the state tournament for the first time since 2009. If a game comes down to the final seconds, the sisters know just what to do.
“Brooke and I have been playing in the backyard and we always pretend it’s the state championship with five seconds left, and I kick it to her for a three,” Kelli said.
Kelli already has verbally committed to the University of Washington to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Kristi, a 2011 All-Pacific 10 Conference selection, Kelli says she liked the idea of staying close to home.
“Our family, we’re super close,” Kelli said. “And I’ve always grown up wanting to be a Husky.”
Brooke, a freshman who also runs cross country at Jackson, said she developed an affinity for basketball because it’s what all her brothers and sisters spent their time playing.
“My siblings always loved basketball and I just joined along,” Brooke said.
Despite her skills on the basketball court, the youngest Kingma thinks she might pursue a different sport once she enrolls in college.
“I really love running,” Brooke said. “I just had cross country and I just realized that’s my sport. Basketball’s awesome. I love both.”
Running runs in the Kingma family. Then again, so does basketball.
The kids’ mom, Gail, ran track for Seattle Pacific University in the early 1980s. There she met Gregg Kingma, an SPU basketball star and the two were married soon after he graduated.
With a group of competitive kids, it’s no surprise that there’s a bit of sibling rivalry in the Kingma household.
“We’re confident about our teams,” Dan said. “Right now we’re talking about whose team will go further. But we support each other.”
At the moment, Dan appears to have the slight advantage. His boys team won the District 1 championship while the Jackson girls lost to Lake Stevens. Even so, Kelli echoed the sentiment of hoping that both teams are successful in Tacoma.
“Having Dan win the district championship, we were like, ‘Oh man, if only we could have done that,’” Kelli said. “We just hope both our teams can do well.”
With the state quarterfinals almost here, Dan, who hopes to play college basketball one day, has sought advice from a family member with a bit of postseason basketball experience: his brother Brett, the 2011 Herald High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“I’ve been talking to him all throughout the season and playoffs,” Dan said. “He gives me advice. He said we need to take every team seriously and get the guys to practice hard.”
Both Johnson and Boyer said that the Kingmas have handled the pressure of the postseason exceptionally well.
“They’re fine. If they’re nervous they don’t show it,” Boyer said. “They’re just competitive kids. They’ve played a lot of basketball and have a good understanding of the game.”
The coaches know they have a few more years left with Kingma players, but after Brooke graduates in 2015, the line of Kingmas will end.
“It will be (weird),” Boyer said. “Obviously we’ve gotten to know their family really well. I hope that we’ll be able to keep in touch with their family and follow their careers. Anytime you have a family graduate out it’s really sad.
“They’re all so talented. They’re good kids. They’re good students. It’s a blessing to have all the combination of both athlete and person.”
“Only five yeah,” Johnson said. “That’s too bad.”