Last-second shot sinks Jackson | Boys basketball

Wolfpack stages epic rally but loses 58-57
By David Pan | Feb 17, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Jackson’s Jordan Brajcich, Islim Ouldtaki, Parker Manalo and Ian Willgress are stunned after falling to Kamiak on a last-second shot in a loser-out 4A District 1 playoff game Feb. 14 at Kamiak High School.

Jackson got what it wanted.

Leading 57-56 with just seconds left on the clock, the Timberwolves forced Kamiak’s Carson Tuttle into a tough 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim.

What the Wolfpack didn’t count on was the ball ricocheting off a Jackson player and into the hands of Kamiak senior Christian Clausen, who quickly shot the ball.

The ball briefly bounced on the rim before falling through the net to give Kamiak a thrilling 58-57 victory over Jackson in a loser-out 4A District 1 boys basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Kamiak High School.

Tuesday’s game didn’t appear headed for a memorable finish. The Knights dominated play late in the first quarter and used a 14-0 run to take a commanding 20-7 lead into the second period.

The Timberwolves didn’t panic and started chipping away at the lead in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 32-27. Jackson pulled even and then seized a 3 point lead late in the third quarter and expanded that lead to 6 points early in the fourth quarter.

“I was proud as hell,” Jackson coach Steve Johnson said of his team’s effort in the heartbreaking loss.

The Wolfpack was coming off a disappointing 65-44 loss to Lake Stevens in a first round district contest on Feb. 10 and an equally frustrating 77-61 defeat to the Knights in the final regular season game on Feb. 8.

Johnson challenged his players, which included seven seniors, to play better than they did in their last two contests.

“I told them in practice on Saturday. I told them in practice on Monday that I wanted to walk in the locker room after the game Tuesday. I wanted to be able to look at each other in the mirror and say that we laid it out there and I think we did,” Johnson said.

After Kamiak’s 14-0 run, Johnson talked with his players about withstanding the Kamiak run and not letting it bury them.

“We got back into it. We showed poise and composure,” he said. “We didn’t give up. We didn’t get bad body language, which we had sometimes this year. … We competed and gave ourselves a chance to win and should have won.”

Seniors Jordan Brajcich scored 18 points and Parker Manalo added 15 points. Senior Islim Ouldtaki  had 11 points.

Tuttle scored 19 points and Clausen finished with 16 points.

The loss was especially difficult for Johnson, especially since it was the final high school game for Jackson’s seven seniors, one of whom was Johnson’s son, Hunter.

“It’s a tough way to end the season,” Johnson said. “We laid it out on the floor tonight. … That’s one of the tougher losses in my 20 years, especially when my own son is a senior. I’ve known these guys since kindergarten. I’m proud of them first and foremost.”

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