Jackson girls finally find their range

TACOMA – In the early moments of Friday’s game against Puyallup, the Jackson girls basketball team was getting plenty of tries at the basket.

That was the good news. The bad news was that virtually every shot was banging off the rim.

Twelve of Jackson’s first 13 attempts from the field missed, with the only successful shot an offensive rebound putback by center Brittany Eskridge in the game’s first 61/2 minutes. Even at the free throw line the Timberwolves were errant, missing three of their first four.

Fortunately there was plenty of game yet to play, and Jackson eventually found the range to roll past Puyallup 56-38 in a loser-out consolation game at the Class 4A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

The outcome puts Jackson into an 11:30 a.m. game today against Mount Tahoma in a battle for fifth and eighth places.

On Wednesday, Jackson opened the tournament with a 2 p.m. game against Mead, and the T-Wolves shot 5-for-9 from the field in the first quarter. But in a 10:30 a.m. game against Skyview on Thursday and in Friday’s 11 a.m. game against Puyallup, Jackson was a combined 6-for-24 (25.0 percent) in the opening period.

“Maybe they’re just not morning kids,” said T-wolves coach Jeannie Thompson with a smile.

Set aside the early minutes of the first quarter, though, and Jackson was pretty much dominating against Puyallup. After falling behind 11-5, the T-wolves closed the period with a 7-2 scoring burst to pull within one point, and then needed just a few minutes of the second quarter to go in front to stay.

The second quarter, in fact, was a terrific stretch for Jackson, particularly defensively as it held the Vikings to just two points for a 26-15 margin at halftime. And in the second half, Jackson continued to pull steadily away.

Eskridge had an outstanding game, scoring 16 points, nabbing 14 rebounds, blocking four shots (bothering several others) and even tacking on two steals. Each one was a team best except steals.

Early on, Eskridge said, the T-wolves “were a little fatigued” as they tried to get untracked for their third game in three days. “Sometimes we get that way,” she added. “Either we’re hot to start the game or we start off really slow. But usually we always pick it up, no matter what.”

“I knew we were going to turn it around at some point,” Thompson said. “Puyallup does a great job of playing defense, but we knew our height with Brit on the inside would eventually pay off.”

Eskridge was backed by guard Kristi Kingma, who contributed 14 points and four assists, and guard Ashly Bruns, who had eight points, eight rebounds and three steals.

The victory guarantees a state-tournament trophy, which will be a first for the Jackson girls program. And that, Eskridge said, “will be awesome. It’ll be cool to take home a trophy. It’s never happened in the history of girls basketball at Jackson High School, and as a senior it’ll be fun to be a part of it.”

At the Tacoma Dome



Puyallup-Sebastian 5, Daniels 2, Wetzel 9, Tomlinson 11, Nichols 11. Jackson-Bruns 8, Kingma 14, Feeney 5, Todd 2, Sam 4, Addington 7, Eskridge 16. 3-point goals-Sebastian 1, Wetzel 1, Nichols 1, Feeney 1, Addington 1. Records-Puyallup 14-15 overall. Jackson 23-3.

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