BOTHELL — Jackson point guard Jesse Hoiby recalled the sting his team felt one year ago after the Timberwolves suffered a loss in the first round of the 4A Hardwood Classic. Ever since, Jackson has been on a mission to get back to Tacoma.
Needing a win to get keep that goal alive in a winner-to-state, loser-out district tournament game, Hoiby delivered a big-time senior performance and the Timberwolves grinded out a 56-50 win over Woodinville on Thursday night at Bothell High School.
“Just our will to win,” said Hoiby when asked what propelled his team to victory. “We wanted it more I feel like, and that was the game plan — who wants it more? I thought we came out, and we did that.”
Hoiby delivered poise when Jackson needed it most. He scored a season and game-high 24 points to go with four steals. No moment, though, was bigger than a dagger 16-foot, fadeaway jumper he hit with the T-wolves leading by two points with 20 seconds to play.
Jackson was clinging to a late 52-50 lead with possession and the shot clock running low when Hoiby got ball control around the left elbow. The senior elevated while falling away from the basket and buried a mid-range jumper to give the Timberwolves a 54-50 lead.
“I was feeling it the whole game,” Hoiby said. “So I just thought I’d put my team on my back for the last shot, threw it up and it went in.”
Woodinville, coming out of a timeout, couldn’t convert quickly on the other end. A long pass off a rebound went to Hoiby on a run-out, and the senior scored with seconds left to put the game away for good.
“Three weeks ago, we were not in good shape as a team,” Jackson coach Steve Johnson said. “I’m really proud of the guys for pulling it together, staying together and to be rewarded with a chance to go to state is awesome.”
Next for Jackson (15-9) is a third-place game against Mount Si at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Everett Community College. After, the Timberwolves will learn their state seeding and play a state tournament regional-round game with the chance to get back to the Tacoma Dome.
Hoiby delivered clutch shots all night, but the senior got help from Jackson’s only other senior, Jaylen Searles, who had five points but added a team-high nine rebounds and five assists. Clay Cortright and Dominic Hellman gave the T-wolves strong minutes off the bench. The duo combined for 13 points.
After falling in an early 11-6 hole, Jackson ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run and led nearly the rest of the way. But Woodinville kept the game within a possession or two until early in the fourth quarter when Jackson strung a 10-2 run together to take a 48-38 lead with 4:30 to play.
A basket from Cortright with 3:55 remaining put the Timberwolves in front 50-41, but Woodinville quickly erased the deficit, going on a 7-0 run in the span of 1:30.
Hoiby stemmed Woodinville’s momentum, scoring and giving Jackson a 52-48 lead with 1:50 to go until Falcons senior Blake Glessner, who scored a team-high 20 points, made consecutive free throws. That trimmed Jackson’s advantage to 52-50 with 1:05 to play. The Timberwolves drained a ton of clock on their next possession thanks to a Woodinville foul late in the shot clock. That setup Hoiby’s clutch jumper to nearly put the game out of reach.