The Arlington girls basketball team battled with a familiar opponent in the Shorecrest Scots in the second round of the 2020 WIAA Hardwood Classic 3A Girls State Championship on March 5.
Shorecrest started on a strong 6-0 run as they forced turnovers and took advantage of their trips to the free throw line. After falling behind early, Arlington started to settle in and limited their mistakes, matching the Scots basket for basket through the rest of the quarter. Heading into the second, Shorecrest held a lead of 15-9.
Through the rest of the half, the Eagles began to get into a groove with a 14-6 run and established their first lead of the game with 2:18 left on the clock, 23-21. After falling behind for the first time, Shorecrest came roaring back on a 6-2 run to secure a 27-25 lead.
In the third quarter, both teams fired back and forth as neither team was able to pull away. After eight minutes, each team scored 11 points and the Scots held their slight lead, 38-36, heading into the fourth quarter. In the final eight minutes both teams played tough and put everything they had into each possession. With 2:33 left, Arlington clawed their way back into a lead as they were up by one point, 44-43. Over the final couple of minutes there were four lead changes as the Eagles came down the court down 48-49, with less than 10 seconds remaining. Arlington’s Hailey Hiatt took the ball off an inbounds pass and hit the turnaround midrange jumper to walk away with the 50-49 victory over Shorecrest.
“Our main focus was to just play our game, we just wanted to come out and play ball. We stayed focused, believed in each other and in the end I had the hot hand, so I was given the opportunity to take the final shot. It was big but it was just another shot to me,” said Eagles’ junior guard Hailey Hiatt.
Arlington was led by their juniors Hiatt and forward Makenzie Gage. Hiatt was efficient as she shot 60% while leading all scorers with 17 points, two three-pointers and a perfect three-for-three at the line. She also had three rebounds and a game-high three steals. Gage also made the most of her shots as she went five-for-eight with 15 points, five free throws, four rebounds and two assists.
“We both know each other so well and we knew it would come down to who wanted it more and who could make plays at the end of the game. Once we settled down and played defense like we’re supposed to it was a different ball game. We’ve been working for this all year, we’re super excited and just so happy to be here,” said Arlington Head Coach Joe Marsh.
The Eagles have had incredible depth all season and continued to show it with the performances from Jenna Villa, Keira Marsh, Sierra Scheppele and Abbey Hassing. Villa, freshman wing, was perfect at the line going five-for-five as she finished with eight points, one three-pointer, one rebound and three assists. Marsh, sophomore guard, was right behind her with seven points, one three-pointer, three rebounds and two assists. Scheppele, senior guard, came off the bench due to injury and made the most of her minutes with two points, one rebound and two steals. Hassing, junior guard, was unable to get on the scoreboard but still made her mark with four rebounds and an assist.
After taking the victory in the second round, Arlington went on to lose to the eventual State Champion Garfield Bulldogs, 53-36, and took another win in the final round against the Eastside Catholic Crusaders, 61-57. With their win, the Eagles secured the third-place finish in the State Tournament.