The Jackson basketball team is heading back to the state tournament for the second time in the last four years. But Timberwolves head coach Steve Johnson is hesitant to compare this year’s title-bound team to the 2010 squad.
“In terms of ability and all that, I don’t know. A lot of the kids are from the same families so I don’t really want to compare 2010 to 2013,” Johnson said. “That might get a little dangerous. And 2013 isn’t over. We’re just focused on the one game we have left.”
Johnson did notice one big difference between the two seasons. In 2010, he noted Jackson had some late-season struggles and had to come into state as the district’s No. 3 seed and somewhat of a surprise underdog.
This year, the 26-0 Timberwolves aren’t surprising anybody.
“It’s a little different,” Johnson said. “(In) 2010 we stumbled late in the season, barely even made the state playoffs. We were like the third seed out of our district. We lost two or three games late in the season and barely even made it to state. We were kind of a surprise, you know had a big upset, kind of an underdog (when they beat) Federal Way, the defending champion, No. 1 ranked.
“This year I don’t get that feeling we’re necessarily viewed as a big underdog. I feel like a lot of people were pulling for Arlington at the beginning of the game so I kind of said to myself, it’s a little funny how it’s a little bit different.”
Todd, Kingma get ‘monkey’ off their backs
What a difference a year makes.
There are nine juniors on the Jackson Timberwolves roster, and at least two of them were a little extra excited getting their first win in the Tacoma Dome Thursday against Central Valley.
They were just as happy to get a second one in the state semifinals Friday night.
Jason Todd and Brett Kingma were 0-4 in their two previous seasons in the state playoffs at the Tacoma Dome. In 2013, they’re 2-0.
“That first win was getting that monkey off your back,” Todd said after Friday’s 68-41 semifinal victory over Arlington. “Now this is icing on the cake. We’re happy with this win, but we’re not settling. We want to win (the state title).”
Once that first game was done, Jackson immediately began looking ahead and focusing on getting a second win.
“It’s sweet, but we’ve got to make sure we’re focused,” Kingma said. “…We didn’t really let it get in our heads. We just went out and got the win. We knew we could win here (at Tacoma).”
This next year might not make a huge difference with only two seniors graduating from the Timberwolves.
When Jackson assistant coach Joe Meagher’s Timberwolves go up against Curtis in the 4A state championship Meagher will see at least one familiar face on the opposing bench.
Vikings’ head coach Tim Kelly.
Meagher coached Kelly when he was the head coach at St. Martin’s College in Lacy for six seasons in the 1980s.
“It’s an interesting side note,” said Jackson head coach Steve Johnson. “…So our programs kind of know each other. Certainly have a lot of respect for them.”
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