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Originally published December 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Page modified December 29, 2013 at 9:59 PM

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Jackson, Newport headed to big holiday tournament title games | Boys basketball

Brian Zehr of Jackson drained a three-pointer as time expired to give the Timberwolves a thrilling 53-52 win in the semifinals of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Jason Todd is the reigning Washington state boys basketball Gatorade Player of the Year. Dan Kingma has announced his intentions to walk on to the Washington basketball team next year.

But when Jackson was down by two with seconds left in the semifinals of the prestigious MaxPreps Holiday Classic on Saturday night, neither Timberwolves star took the final shot.

Senior Brian Zehr capped a crazy scramble in the final 10 seconds by draining a three-pointer to give Jackson (5-0) a 53-52 win over Long Beach Poly (Calif.) and a spot in the championship game against Capital Christian of Sacramento, Calif. No team from outside California has ever won the tournament, which is held in Palm Springs, Calif.

The game-winning shot was set up after Long Beach Poly missed the front end of a one-and-one. Zehr found himself with the ball on the left wing with about three seconds left and drained his three-pointer.

“I was just so excited for the kids. I was going to be proud of them regardless,” Jackson coach Steve Johnson said. “A lot of things didn’t go our way, we were down 12 ... really just battled and played courageously.”

At the Cactus Jam in Phoenix, Newport beat Metairie Park Country Day (Louisiana) 71-67 on Saturday night and will play Hoover (Ohio) in the championship game. Country Day is one of the top ranked teams in Louisiana.

Cal Throckmorton led Newport (3-4) with 26 points, and Will Ferris added 13.

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