EAST LANSING – As the final seconds vanished from the clock, Jamyrin Jackson was face down on the Breslin Center floor near mid-court.
The Everett senior guard was hoping for a better ending in his second straight trip to the Class A state semifinals.
Instead, he was frustrated that the Vikings’ improbable state tournament run was halted with Friday’s 60-48 loss to No. 5-ranked North Farmington.
“This might take me a good year to get over, and probably the whole school year,” said Jackson, who led the Vikings with a game-high 27 points. “This is crazy how we just lost all of that fight and blood, sweat and tears that we just did that whole tournament. Coming in to the Breslin, I knew that we couldn’t be down. The whole tournament we came from a deficit and tried to fight back. This was the first game that I knew we had to stay up. We just didn’t do that.”
Everett defied odds by getting to the state semifinals, becoming just the 22nd team and first since 2006 to reach this point despite 10 or more regular-season losses. The Vikings (16-11) overcame deficits their last three state tournament games to reach the semifinals for a second straight season. But on Friday, Everett found itself in a hole it couldn’t quite overcome.
Billy Thomas had 26 points for North Farmington (24-2) and kick started the Raiders’ 14-0 run to start the second half. He hit two 3s at the start of the run that helped North Farmington build a 17-point lead during the third quarter.
That run was enough to help North Farmington earn a spot in Saturday’s state championship game against top-ranked Detroit U-D Jesuit.
“That hurt,” fourth-year Everett coach Desmond Ferguson said. “It was tough to bounce back from that. We had some missed defensive assignments. It was just tough to climb back. We got some steals and we missed a layup here and there that could have really got us back in it. We weren’t able to really turn a corner.”
Jackson tried to lead the Vikings to another comeback victory, making six 3-pointers while scoring 24 points in the second half. But Everett never got closer than eight for the remainder of the contest as its magical three-week run ended.
“It’s been an unexpected journey because I really didn’t think we were going to be here three weeks ago,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been able to enjoy it more than last year because this team went from underachieving to overachieving in a short amount of time. It usually doesn’t happen.
“It will take a while for them to process, but they have nothing to hang their heads about. We’re not happy with losing. Our goal was to come here and win, so it was disappointing from that standpoint that we weren’t able to do some things both offensively and defensively. They’ll really be able to enjoy it down the line.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.