MILL CREEK — The Jackson girls basketball team did its best to keep up with North Creek’s fast-paced attack and array of talented scorers.
But every time the Timberwolves began closing the gap, the Jaguars answered with another onslaught.
KingCo No. 6 seed North Creek handed Wesco No. 3 seed Jackson a season-ending 84-70 loss in a loser-out Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament play-in game Thursday night at Jackson High School.
“You can exchange baskets all night, but unless you get a stop, you’re never going to close ground,” Timberwolves coach Corey Gibb said. “And we could not get a stop when we needed a stop.”
North Creek senior Kelsey Hudson hit five 3-pointers and poured in 33 points, showcasing a well-rounded arsenal with pinpoint outside shooting and aggressive drives to the basket.
“Hats off to her,” Gibb said. “She played really well. They just beat us tonight. They just flat-out beat us.”
North Creek’s Mia Kosoglow added 16 points and former Jackson player Caitlin Monten scored 13 for the Jaguars, who are in their second season as a program since the north Bothell school opened in 2017. Brandi White added 10 points, including three 3-pointers.
With the victory, the Jaguars (14-9) advanced to the eight-team double-elimination portion of the bi-district tournament. North Creek is scheduled to face KingCo No. 2 seed Eastlake in a district quarterfinal Monday night. The tournament’s top five finishers advance to the 4A state regionals.
“It feels good to get this win — to have the chance to be in the double-elimination part of the (tournament),” Jaguars coach Calvin McHenry said. “… They played so well tonight.”
North Creek finished with 10 made 3-pointers and excelled at an up-tempo pace, often shooting within the first 10 seconds of its possessions.
Yet for as quick as they played, the Jaguars rarely seemed out of control. North Creek expertly shared the ball among its array of skilled players, keeping Jackson (14-6) off-balance with a blend of sharpshooting, good ball movement and a knack for attacking the basket.
“It felt like we were like a half-step, maybe a quarter-step slow the whole night — even getting our hands up on defense,” Gibb said. “We just did not execute on defense the way we’d wished. The better team won tonight.”
Alexa Martin, one of five Jackson seniors to score in double figures, hit three 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 15 points. North Dakota State-bound Olivia Skibiel added 13 points, Jaelen Williams scored 12, Lauren Schillberg had 11 and Megan Mattison 10.
Yet it wasn’t enough to overcome the Jaguars’ season-high 84 points.
“We can’t give up 84 points and expect to come out of there with a win,” Gibb said. “The defense just needed to be better tonight.”
North Creek, which never trailed, rattled off 10 straight points midway through the second quarter to build a 29-19 lead. Jackson cut the margin to five points by halftime and trailed by just six midway through the third quarter, but that was as close as the Timberwolves would come.
White buried a pair of 3-pointers to help key a 12-2 Jaguars run that stretched North Creek’s lead to 57-41 late in the third.
Jackson refused to cave, trimming the margin to nine points with less than six minutes to play. But Hudson quickly responded with seven points in less than a minute — two layups and a 3-pointer — to push the Jaguars’ lead to 69-53 and put the game out of reach.
“They hit some shots early,” Gibb said, “and it seemed like we were chasing the whole night.”
The loss ended a strong season for the Timberwolves, who finished with their most wins since 2013-14.
“It’s going to hurt for a while,” Gibb said, “but there’s so much more that you can take out of high school sports than one game. … I couldn’t be prouder of the seniors and the leadership example that they set.”