Jason Todd and Dan Kingma led the Jackson boys basketball team to a 4A state championship game against Curtis last year that required overtime to send it home with second place.
Then ninth-ranked Issaquah thwarted No. 1 Jackson’s hopes of redemption Thursday, handing the Timberwolves a 56-44 loss in the first round of the state tournament.
Issaquah took the lead with less than two minutes in the first quarter and never handed it back. Ty Gibson led the Eagles with 18 points and 10 rebounds
Todd, the reigning state Gatorade player of the year and a TNT first-team all-state selection this year, led Jackson with 17 points and nine rebounds. Kingma had 15 points. They combined to shoot 11-for-35 (31.4 percent) from the field.
“We know what we have been capable of all year,” Issaquah coach Jason Griffith said. “We kind of feel like we’ve been sliding under the radar from the media perspective. But this doesn’t surprise us at all.”
Issaquah (19-6) advanced to the state semifinals to face No. 2 Garfield (22-1). The Eagles handed Garfield its only loss, 65-63 on Feb. 1.
Issaquah took a 27-14 lead against Jackson just minutes into the second quarter. Todd made a basket through a foul to cut the lead to 49-44 with 2:50 left in the fourth, but he missed the free throw.
Jackson (23-2) didn’t score after that and the Eagles ended the game on a 7-0 run.
“It came down to being mentally tough,” Griffith said. “They went on their runs, we withstood them. You can expect that from a state championship-caliber team. But our kids never folded.”