MILL CREEK -Kristi Kingma showed the leadership and confidence that you expect from a seasoned player.
And yet, you have to keep reminding yourself, she’s just a sophomore.
Kingma scored a season-high 26 points, including six free throws late in the fourth quarter, to lead the Jackson girls basketball team to a 67-56 victory over Marysville-Pilchuck in a Class 4A District 1 tournament game Tuesday night at Jackson High School. Dan Bates / The Herald
Dan Bates / The Herald
The victory was the Timberwolves 11th straight and allowed Jackson (18-3 overall) to advance to the semifinals against Lake Stevens Friday night.
With the win Jackson avenged an early season loss to the Tomahawks. Marysville-Pilchuck (13-8) defeated Jackson by an almost identical score (65-56) on December 28.
“Last time we really had a hard time in transition defense and not blocking out. This time we were able to slow the pace down,” Jackson coach Jennie Thompson said.
The story of the night for the Jackson Timberwolves was their point guard.
Kingma scored 13 points in each half using her quickness to penetrate the Tomahawks defense to create easy layins for herself and her teammates.
“She’s a phenomenal player and a great leader for that team,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Julie Martin said.
And yet, she’s just a sophomore.
Along with the season-high in points, her defensive pressure on Marysville-Pilchuck’s sharpshooter Amanda Dunbar proved to be the difference in the game.
Dunbar scorched the Timberwolves defense in the teams’ prior matchup scoring 29 points.
Things didn’t come so easily in the rematch.
Dunbar, who entered the game averaging 17.2 points per game, scored 11 first-half points using her quick release to knock down three 3-pointers.
But in the second half Kingma stepped up the pressure on Dunbar forcing the senior shooter into 1-for-12 shooting, including a dismal 0-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc.
“Dunbar is a great shooter,” Thompson said, “We were hoping Kingma would wear her out with pressure.”
“My job was to shut down Dunbar,” Kingma said, “I picked up on defense which then picked up my offense.”
Not only did Kingma force Dunbar into bad shots, she was also able to force her into turnovers.
“I think she (Kingma) really got into Dunbar,” Martin said.
And turnovers is where the Tomahawks were hurt the most.
Jackson forced Marysville-Pilchuck into 22 turnovers leading to a number of easy Timberwolves baskets.
What surprised everyone was the confidence of Kingma.
“She’s a tremendous young player,” Thompson said.
Kingma finished 11-for-12 from the free throw line, including 6-for-6 from the stripe with a minute remaining in the game.
Sophomore Ashly Bruns added 16 points and junior Michelle Addington scored 14 for Jackson.
The Tomahawks trailed for most of the first half but took a 34-33 lead in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer from Ashley Todd allowed the Timberwolves to regain a lead – at 36-34 – they’d never relinquish.
In the fourth quarter, sophomore Nicole Peterson, who was scoreless in the game’s first three quarters – led a late Tomahawks charge single-handedly by scoring nine points in 31/2 minutes and cutting Jackson’s lead to 54-52 with 4:30 remaining.
Jackson countered by scoring the next seven points and holding the Tomahawks without a field goal for three minutes.
Marysville-Pilchuck was led by Sarah Gribler’s 19 points.
The victory sets up a rematch of last year’s opening-round 4A District 1 game when Lake Stevens defeated Jackson.
This time though their leader is just a little bit older and a lot more confident.
“Everybody’s playing with confidence and we know that when we are at our best nobody can touch us,” Kingma said.
And yet, she’s just a sophomore.
At Jackson H.S.
Marysville-Pilchuck-Couls 3, Dunbar 13, West 6, Peterson 9, Degerness 6, Gribler 19. Jackson-Todd 5, Kingma 26, Bruns 16, Eskridge 6, Addington 14. 3-point goals-Dunbar 3, Couls 1, Peterson 1, Addington 1, Kingma 1, Todd 1, Bruns 1. Records-M-P 13-8 overall. Jackson 18-3.