Every squad wants to be at full strength for a big game. No such luck for the Jackson High School boys basketball team.
As many as three starters could be missing tonight when the Timberwolves play Edmonds-Woodway in a key Western Conference South Division clash at the E-W gym, Jackson coach Steve Johnson said Wednesday.
Two players are out for disciplinary reasons and a third is academically ineligible, Johnson said. All three players missed Jackson’s victory over Shorewood on Tuesday. One of them also missed Jackson’s win over Kamiak on Friday.
Tonight’s game pits first-place Jackson (7-0 in the division, 9-2 overall) against E-W (5-1, 8-2), which has won six straight.
Several inexperienced players will see significant action for Jackson, Johnson said.
“Kids are gonna have to step up, and obviously we’re going in to play a really good (E-W) team,” Johnson said. “We just gotta go relish the experience and enjoy playing in a big game, and not worry about who we’re missing.”
But that’s easier said than done, Johnson added.
One of the players has a slight chance of being cleared to play by game time, Johnson said. The other two could rejoin the team later this season, Jackson’s athletic director, Don Lichty, said.
Johnson and Lichty said district policy does not allow them to identify the ineligible players. Administrators learned of the academic violation on Friday, and discipline issues came up on Tuesday, Lichty said.
“It’s obviously going to be a challenge for both coach Johnson and the team to overcome this hurdle,” Lichty said. “But they’ve got some good players and they played well Friday (against Kamiak) without one of the starters.”