ARLINGTON — Currently ranked No. 1 in Wesco North 4A, the Arlington Girls basketball team is looking to repeat last year’s success.
“We won the League Championship last year,” Arlington head coach Joe Marsh said. “Our goal from the very beginning was to win it again and defend that league championship.”
Last season, the girls fell just short of No. 1, placing second in the State Championship. After defeating Lake Stevens, 66-64, in the semifinals on March 1, 2013, Arlington lost to Mead 58-42 the next day. “We played a great team in Mead, and they were better than us that night,” Marsh said.
The Eagles were disappointed in not taking the state title, but Marsh was intensely satisfied in how much the girls achieved.
“No one ever thought we were going to make it that far,” Marsh said.
“We’re in a position now where we have three games to go,” Marsh said. “We have a one-game lead, and if we take care of our business, that goal will be achievable for us.”
Part of Arlington’s success from last season was the carryover in talent they had in the previous year.
“We graduated six seniors, and five of those started for most of the season,” Marsh said. “I think the big thing was a lot of the experience our kids got from last year.”
A good portion of Arlington’s underclassmen played in the previous postseason, and had ample opportunity to practice along side the seniors.
“A bunch of those young kids practiced with that group all year and were with us during that run to the state championship game,” he said.
One of the returning talents from last season is senior team captain and center Lyndsay Leatherman. Leatherman is the team’s only senior. Last season, Leatherman saw a lot of play time in the playoffs.
Being influenced by Arlington’s previous senior core, Leatherman aims to mimic their success. “They left something really good in the program,” Leatherman said. “We want to be like last year’s team because they were so good.”
Leatherman sees her role as the team captain in leading the teams’ conduct on and off the court.
Junior guard and captain Jessica Ludwig is another returning veteran who is pleased with team’s progress this year. “We had some struggles this year,” she said. “Everything’s now coming together.”
Ludwig also drew inspiration from last year’s seniors. “Just watching the seniors last year has really helped me become the leader I am now,” she said.
Marsh believes the team’s best attribute is defense. “We can put a lot of pressure on people,” Marsh said. “We really hang our hat on that.”
As the post-season draws closer, Marsh has his team focusing on drills and game plans emphasizing defense.
“When you get to the postseason, it’s really about execution,” Marsh said. “You have to go in with a game plan, and be able to execute a game plan.”
For Marsh, that game plan is executing the basics.
“It’s really about maximizing our strengths,” Marsh said.
As of Jan. 30, Arlington was 8-3 in conference and 14-3 overall.
Arlington faced Lake Stevens on Jan. 31 after press time so results were unavailable. Their last two games before the post-season will be at Snohomish on Feb. 3 and at Mount Vernon on Feb. 5.
Snohomish is second to Arlington in the 4A North standings with a conference record of 7-5, and Mount Vernon is third with a conference record of 6-6.
The post season will run Feb. 11 meeting at the 4A District at Mountlake Terrace and Glacier Peak High Schools.