In the aftermath of Jackson’s 69-60 Wesco South home win over previously-unbeaten Shorecrest on Friday, I couldn’t help but think back a few years. The way the Timberwolves shot the ball — 47.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3-pointers — brought back memories of their 2005-06 squad.
Led by Drew Eisinger (19.6 ppg) and brother Jamie (12.6 ppg), along with Brian Rucker (17.7 ppg), Jackson (24-5, 16-2) was the surprise of the tournament. After an opening-round loss to Isaiah Thomas and Curtis, the Timberwolves defeated district champion Cascade in overtime, Kentwood on Jamie’s 3-pointer at the buzzer (to give Jackson a single-game tournament-record tying 14) and Inglemoor to capture fifth place.
Much like the No. 4 Timberwolves this year, that squad was heavy on guard play — so much so that an average, at best, inside game hardly mattered.
But it’s in the specifics where the parallels become eerie.
Jackson’s three double-digit scorers (junior Brett Kingma, seniors Ryan Todd and Marshall Massengale) this year are all guards. Both teams had a Wishko (Mike now, Dan back then) and a Rucker (Brandon now).
“It’s very similar,” Jackson coach Steve Johnson said. “Obviously, we’re perimeter-oriented. You’ve got very skilled guys — and not just 1, not just 2, not just 3, but 4, 5, 6 guys.”
To take this comparison a step further, consider that the Eisingers (currently starting at 7-1 Northwest Nazarene University of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference) were a year and two years away from playing in college. The same can be said for Todd (SPU) and Kingma (perhaps the state’s second-ranked guard behind Tony Wroten in the Class of 2011).