By Alex Bosworth Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — Shane Kaska’s first free throw gave his team a three-point lead.
His second almost guaranteed Lake Stevens a spot in the 4A District 1 championship game.
Kaska scored a team-high 21 points and Lake Stevens rallied from a 19-point hole in the first quarter against Jackson for an 81-77 4A District 1 boys basketball semifinal victory Saturday in a wild game that wasn’t decided until the closing seconds.
Kaska made two free throws to put his team up 79-75 with 6.3 seconds remaining in a fourth-quarter shootout.
“I just zoned everybody out and took a deep breath,” Kaska, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, said. “I knew I was going to make them. … That’s all there was to it.”
Jackson cut the lead to two points on a pair of free throws by senior Ryan Todd (11 points), but couldn’t overcome the two-possession deficit, and Lake Stevens closed it out on the line.
The end result sets up a battle between Wesco North co-champions. Lake Stevens plays Stanwood in the 4A District 1 championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Jackson High School.
“It feels great,” Kaska said. “That was our goal from the beginning.”
Six different Vikings players scored in double figures — Kaska, Zac Israel, Arvid Isaksen, Mike Schneider, Aaron Maw and Jarrett Hanson.
Lake Stevens’ strength in numbers cancelled out another high-scoring effort from Jackson junior guard Brett Kingma, who scored 33 points.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Jackson, which opened the game with a 19-0 run and looked well on its way to the district title game.
Kingma scored 13 of those first 19 points.
“We’ve come back from bigger deficits than that,” Kaska said of Jackson’s first-quarter run. “We just put our heads down, (were) positive, (chipped away) and that’s what we did.”
The Vikings rallied in the second quarter, outscoring Jackson 25-9, and getting a number of those points in close proximity to the hoop.
Jackson, ranked seventh in the state by the Associated Press, received 11 points from Todd and 16 points from senior guard Marshall Massengale.
Lake Stevens and Stanwood split their two regular season games this season.
The Timberwolves will play Mountlake Terrace at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Jackson in the consolation bracket. Jackson still has a chance to get the third seed to state.
That’s a position Lake Stevens knows all to well. Last year, the Vikings went to state as the third seed and placed eighth.
At Jackson H.S.
Lake Stevens—Israel 10, Isaksen 12, Finley 0, Schneider 12, Hanson 10, Maw 10, Dodge 6, Kaska 21. Jackson—Kingma 33, Todd 11, Dineen 0, Rucker 2, Gay 0, Massengale 16, O’Keefe 9, Wishko 6. 3-point goals—Kingma 5, Massengale 2, Israel 2, Isaksen 1, Kaska 2. Records—Lake Stevens 17-5 overall. Jackson 18-4.