The preseason vision of a state championship prevailed throughout the year’s campaign for Jackson, as the Timberwolves made quick work of their Wesco opponents. Add in a win at a prestigious out-of-state tournament and Jackson felt pretty good about its title chances heading into this week’s tournament.
Then Issaquah got the better of them in the quarterfinals and Jackson was tossed into the consolation bracket. So when the Timberwolves found themselves down 21-6 to Kentridge on Friday, it did not look like the season would end well.
But the Timberwolves rallied, and No. 2 Jackson slowly grinded its way back into the game before winning a thrilling 61-57 overtime contest against No. 4 Kentridge (25-3).
“To refocus and play a 12 o’clock game is a little different vibe, but in light of that and in light of the fact we fell behind by nine (at half),” coach Steve Johnson said. “Things weren’t looking too good. I’m really pleased that we didn’t give up and fought back and got it done.”
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Jackson (24-2) will still have an opportunity to bring home a trophy — albeit, one for fourth place — when it faces Gonzaga Prep on Saturday at 8 a.m.
“It’s always disappointing, we had goals of getting to state and hopefully winning state,” senior Jason Todd said. “At the same time, you got to keep things in perspective and … just enjoy the experience and be humble that you’re here.”
The Timberwolves had to scrap back in the final minute, though, down 50-46 after Keasean Kelley hit a pair of free throws. Brian Zehr followed with a three-pointer with 44 seconds left and Jackson came up with a steal on the ensuing defensive possession.
Dan Kingma was off the mark on a jumper in transition from the left baseline following the Kentridge turnover, but Zehr was fouled on the rebound. The senior split a pair of free throws to tie the score, 50-50 and send it to overtime.
Todd, who had a 23 points and 13 rebounds, gave Jackson the lead with just more than a minute left in the extra period and the Timberwolves sealed the win with free throws. Jawan Stepney scored a game-high 32 points for Kentridge.
Gonzaga Prep 65, Wenatchee 51
Sam Dowd was the smallest player on the court, but he was also one of the most ruthless. Dowd scored a game-high 28 points and consistently attacked Wenatchee’s defense in leading Gonzaga Prep.
Dowd made 10 of his 18 shots, including 8 of 12 on two-pointers. Gonzaga Prep (20-4) will play Jackson on Saturday in the fourth-place game.
Gavin Long led Wenatchee with 17 points.
Staff writer Jayson Jenks
contributed to this report.