Jackson took care of business against Kamiak and in the process won its first Western Conference South Division boys basketball title since 2007.
Junior Brett Kingma scored 23 points and senior Ryan Todd added 13 as the Timberwolves jumped on the Knights early en route to a 79-58 victory Feb. 11 at Kamiak High School.
The victory snapped a two-game skid for the Timberwolves, who dropped games to Meadowdale and Mountlake Terrace.
“We won pretty convincingly,” said Jackson coach Steve Johnson. “Obviously we feel much better going into the playoffs.”
Jackson hosts Snohomish at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in a first-round Northwest District 1 tournament game. The winner advances to a winner-to-state game at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Jackson High School.
The Wolfpack took a 22-16 lead into the second quarter against Kamiak and stretched the advantage to 40-22 at halftime. Jackson led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter.
The losses to the Mavericks and Hawks were the first back-to-back defeats of the season for Jackson (15-3 in the league, 17-3 overall).
Todd, who recently returned to the lineup after being out with a concussion, was glad to see the Timberwolves rebound.
“It helped us get back on track,” he said of the win over Kamiak. “… We had to do some things a little bit better. Against Kamiak we came out strong. That was a big step for us.”
Jackson didn’t play defense particularly well against Mountlake Terrace, according to Todd.
“That’s where our offense starts,” he said. “That will lead to easy baskets. When we get a lot of points, we’re doing a better job defensively and blocking out.”
The Hawks shots close to 60 percent from the field in the first half. Jackson rallied to take a lead but Mountlake Terrace made some key plays late in the game to pull out a 69-61 victory on Feb. 9.
Johnson saw composure from his players two days later against the Knights.
“They approached the game in a business-like attitude and got it done,” Johnson said.
Todd appeared more like himself in the final regular season game. He wasn’t quite himself in the previous games, according to Johnson.
“He’s starting to look like the guy I know and really play the way he’s capable,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t in rhythm or (didn’t have) his timing prior to that. Hopefully, he’s back to his normal self right now.”
Todd had never suffered a concussion before and admits it took some time to get back into basketball shape.
“Now that I’ve done that I feel pretty much 100 percent,” Todd said. “That’s probably a good thing heading into districts.”
The Wolfpack entered the year as the preseason favorite and lived up to the billing.
“It feels good to be as successful as we were,” Todd said. “We have the capability to play with anyone.”
While Kingma led the league in scoring (24.5 points), Jackson was far from just a one-man team. Todd averaged 14.5 points and teammate Martin Massengale scored 13 points per game.
“We have multiple guys who can score,” Todd said. “We are able to use that strength. Teams aren’t going to scout one, two or three guys.”
Rebounding figures to be important at districts, Johnson noted.
“Snohomish has a couple of big guys. We need rebounds,” he said. “The whole team, five guys, need to block out. It’s got to be everybody, not just one or two. It’s a team thing.”
As the league champs, Jackson expects to get every team’s best shot.
“We just need to make sure we play hard and bring it every single night,” Todd said. “We know teams are gunning for us.”