SEATTLE — It was like using a time machine to get a sneak peek of things to come.
Playing on her future home court, Kristi Kingma scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had eight assists to lead the Jackson High School girls basketball team to a 65-62 non-conference victory over the Kentwood Conquerors Monday during the King Holiday Hoopfest at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Kingma, a University of Washington recruit, scored nine points in the final quarter of the back-and-forth battle for Jackson (13-1), which overcame a 12-point first-half deficit to win its 12th consecutive game. The senior guard scored the Timberwolves’ final four points, including the last two on a 16-foot fade-away jump shot with 25 seconds to go.
“Great players make big shots,” said Kentwood coach Keith Hennig, who tried to stop Kingma throughout the game by having two defenders cover her.
It didn’t work very well, but Jackson had trouble stopping Kentwood’s star, too. Junior guard Lindsey Moore (27 points, five rebounds) led the way for the Conquerors (12-4), who last season placed third at the Class 4A state tournament.
Moore scored 12 in the fourth quarter. Her free throws gave Kentwood a 61-57 edge with two minutes, 46 seconds to go. But later Kingma drained two contested jumpers in the final 86 seconds. The last one came over Moore after Jackson called a clear-out play for Kingma.
“The shots she was making were not easy,” Hennig said. “We’re talking 15-foot pull-up, fading away.”
Jackson wouldn’t have been in position to win without key contributions from Ashly Bruns (16 points, two 3-point baskets) and Erin Feeney (17 points, five 3s). Kentwood missed a 3-point try in the final seconds after Kingma made it 65-62.
Kingma said of her final clutch basket, “I know that if I am able to get anywhere in the key, I can rise above anyone. (Moore) is a good defender and I was just hoping she wouldn’t block it, but I was able to get up and shoot.”
In the first half Jackson seemed on the verge of getting blown out when it fell behind by 12 points (30-18) midway through the second quarter. But two 3-pointers by Feeney and a smart defensive play by Ashley Todd helped ignite a huge rally that got the Timberwolves back in it.
Feeney and Todd combined to score 10 points during a 14-2 Jackson spurt that spanned the final 4:45 of the half. Todd took a charge on defense on a drive by Moore early in the burst. It seemed to energize Jackson, which had struggled to stop Kentwood from driving inside for layins.
In the first quarter Kentwood was 10-for-14 from the field, including eight layins, and scored 22 points.
“We needed a spark. It didn’t matter where it came from,” Jackson coach Jeannie Thompson said.
Todd (nine points) provided it, taking the first of three total charges when Moore spun into the lane. Todd’s selfless effort “really fueled the team and we started realizing, ‘Hey, we can make a comeback,’” said Thompson.
Playing early in the day against a talented foe on high-profile court was overwhelming at first, Todd said. But once Jackson got comfortable, its defense “really changed the momentum of the game and got our offense going,” she said.
Kentwood’s coach wasn’t surprised Jackson bounced back after falling behind by a dozen points.
“Jackson’s packed with talent,” Hennig said, “and they’re the type of team that you can hold them down for a couple minutes but eventually they’re going to start hitting some shots, which they did.”
At Edmundson Pavilion
Kentwood — Genger 2, Moore 27, Thomson 6, Huerta 8, McGuire 6, Johnson 2, Wahlberg 7, Rider 4. Jackson — Bruns 16, Sam, Kingma 21, Feeney 17, Todd 9, Kirton 2. 3-point goals—Moore 2, Wahlberg 1, Huerta 1, Bruns 2, Kingma 1, Feeney 5, Todd 1. Records—Kentwood 12-4 overall. Jackson 13-1.
Contact Herald Writer Mike Cane at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more high school sports news, check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.