The Arlington girls basketball team travelled to the Tacoma Dome to take on the West Seattle Wildcats in the first round of the Hardwood Classic, Washington State’s Championship Tournament, on Feb. 27.
Arlington came out of the gate strong as they scored quickly from beyond the arc while forcing the Wildcats to take tough midrange shots. The Eagles kept the ball moving at a fast pace and found open areas to take their shots on the West Seattle defense. At the end of the first quarter Arlington held a small lead, 13-9.
The second quarter was a completely different story as the Wildcats began to take away the Eagles’ open threes and forced them inside. West Seattle began to click on the offensive end and more than doubled their scoring output from the first as they outscored Arlington 19-8. Heading into halftime the Wildcats established a 28-21 lead.
Both teams came into the third quarter scoring back and forth as they battled for momentum. The Eagles worked to draw fouls on the way to the basket with multiple and-one plays against the Wildcat defense. With a couple of minutes left in the quarter West Seattle held a 40-30 lead, but Arlington hit a different gear late as they went on a 5-0 run to enter the fourth down 40-35.
The Eagles stayed neck-and-neck with the Wildcats throughout the rest of the half. With a little over a minute left in the game Arlington closed the gap down 46-45. Unfortunately, after a few foul calls and some clutch free throws late, West Seattle was able to walk away with the 50-45 victory.
“After the game I told the team that the positive of these games is the incredible experience that they have earned against the top teams in the state. In order for teams to be successful you have to go through it and gain confidence competing at that level. We’re so young and we’re going to be able to be clear about our goals next season and it’s going to pay off for us down the road,” said Arlington Head Coach Joe Marsh.
The Eagles were led by their trio of sophomores including Hailey Hiatt, Josie Stupey and Abby Schwark. Hiatt, shooting guard, scored a team-high 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting and hitting three shots from beyond the arc. She also grabbed three rebounds and forced two steals. Stupey, forward, was the second leading scorer for Arlington with 13 points as she hit 9 of 10 from the free throw line, grabbed seven rebounds, four assists and one steal. Schwark, forward, scored five points while dishing one assist and leading the team in rebounds with eight.
Arlington’s freshman point guard Keira Marsh had a great game coming off the bench. Marsh scored the third-most on the team with eight points, grabbed two boards and took two steals in the second half.
With this final game of the season, Arlington finished with an overall record of 17-7 and a league record of 12-1. With only two seniors on their varsity roster and their entire starting lineup returning next season, the Eagles will look to reload and make a run in the tournament next year.