BOTHELL — With a buzzer-beating layup to force overtime, Jesse Hoiby sent the Jackson boys basketball team and its fans into pandemonium.
But as the Timberwolves struggled to score during the ensuing extra period, that elation slowly faded into disappointment.
Jackson rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, but the sixth-ranked Timberwolves managed just one point in the extra period and fell 65-56 to fifth-ranked Mount Si in the Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament title game Monday afternoon in front of a packed crowd at North Creek High School.
“It was kind of a serious emotional swing the way that went down,” Jackson coach Steve Johnson said.
Trailing by 11 points with just over five minutes to play and six points with less than two minutes remaining, the Wesco 4A champion Timberwolves (18-4) mounted a late fourth-quarter comeback.
Jaylen Searles hit a stepback jumper and Ben Olesen came up with a steal and layup to cut Mount Si’s lead to 53-51 with 1:25 to play. Then after the KingCo 4A champion Wildcats sank a pair of free throws with 25.8 seconds remaining, Olesen fought through contact to convert an acrobatic layup, trimming the margin to 55-53.
An ensuing missed free throw by Mount Si opened the door for Jackson to tie or take the lead on its next possession, but the Timberwolves turned it over and fouled the Wildcats with 7.0 seconds to play.
However, Jackson would get another chance. Mount Si missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity and Hoiby grabbed the rebound, setting up the dramatic end-of-regulation sequence.
Hoiby took two dribbles upcourt and passed the ball laterally to teammate Joe Capponi, who then tossed it right back to Hoiby. The Jackson junior guard then took two more dribbles before using a hesitation move to get past Mount Si’s defense and take advantage of an open path to the hoop.
Hoiby released a right-handed finger-roll layup just before the final buzzer, and the ball fell through the rim to set off a frenzied celebration among Timberwolves players, coaches and fans.
The overtime-forcing layup was the only basket of the game for Hoiby, who spent the entire second half on the bench before entering with about two minutes remaining.
“To sit there the entire half and then have to go in and all of a sudden (have) the bright lights and the ball in your hands, I was really proud of him and impressed that he had the wherewithal and the awareness to make that play,” Johnson said.
But after Jackson made a free throw early in the overtime period to take a one-point lead, Mount Si (23-2) scored the game’s final 10 points to pull away for its 17th consecutive win. The Timberwolves played without Olesen in overtime after the standout point guard fouled out in the final minute of regulation.
“We had a tough time offensively in the overtime without Ben, kind of our heart-and-soul point guard,” Johnson said. “So that was challenging. We could’ve done a better job attacking and trying to get to the rim and do some better things, so that was disappointing.”
In a matchup pitting two teams that went unbeaten in their respective conferences, Jackson raced to an early 11-3 lead less than two and a half minutes into the game. But after their quick start, the Timberwolves struggled offensively for much of the contest, scoring just 32 points over the final 25 minutes.
“It just didn’t really feel like we got in a great rhythm offensively the whole night,” Johnson said. “We turned the ball over too much.
“Not getting some critical rebounds, I thought, was really the difference in the game,” he added. “They’re a really good offensive team, and (when) you give them extra possessions, it makes it that much more difficult.”
Jabe Mullins led Mount Si with 24 points, while Tyler Patterson and Brett Williams added 11 points apiece.
Christian Liddell scored a team-high 13 points for Jackson, which saw its 12-game win streak come to an end. Capponi added 12 points, while Olesen and Searles scored 10 apiece.
Both teams had already clinched 4A state regional berths, and both are likely to be top-eight seeds when the regional matchups are announced. The top eight seeds square off in non-elimination state regional games and are guaranteed spots in the Tacoma Dome for the Hardwood Classic.
“All the goals we have surrounding state trophies and all those things are still alive,” Johnson said. “… Getting the game to overtime and having to handle that hopefully will forge us and toughen us up for the future.”