ARLINGTON — After placing fifth last year in the State Tournament, Arlington head coach Nick Brown and the Eagles are working for another run in the playoffs.
Like their fellow girls basketball team, the boys are ranked No. 1 in the Wesco 4A North.
Last season, Arlington’s run was cut short when they lost to Jackson, 68-41, on March 1, 2013.
“We learned a lot from them,” Brown said. “I don’t think we played at our potential.”
The Eagles settled for fifth when they lost the next day to Garfield, 80-68.
The experience the Eagles have accumulated in last season’s run in the playoffs has translated well into their strong current season record of 10-1 in conference as of Jan. 30.
Along with experience, Brown mentioned toughness as a unique attribute for the Eagles. “They are hard-nosed kids looking to improve,” Brown said.
Brown said the boys show both their mental toughness in their body language, and physically in their style of play. “They compete and never back down. They are tough nuts. You can’t crack them,” he said. “They don’t show that they’re losing.”
As the playoffs draw near, Brown is focusing on bringing the best out of his players. Brown is concentrating on improving the team’s defense, shooting and passing. “Sometimes we don’t play at our full potential,” Brown said. “We’ve got to bring it every night.”
Brown also mentioned that “fun” is an important component to the team’s practice. “It’s why we play,” Brown said. “Sometimes we just practice and forget we’re having fun.”
Brown defines fun in three terms: compete, improve and joy.
Arlington’s top scorers are senior captains Noah Jones, Kaleb Bryson and Brady Brummel. “They do a great job of being team players and sharing the ball,” Brown said. “We are lucky to have them as our captains. All of my boys are special young men.”
Brummel said experience has helped his performance on the court.
“It helps me stay calm and not let the other team get to me,” said Brummel, who has scored 201 points in 16 games this year.
Playing in the Tacoma Dome during last year’s State Tournament has helped Brummel adjust to the depth perception in the stadium.
Among the things Brummel hopes that he and his team can improve on are increasing their shooting percentages, moving the ball around and man-to-man coverage on defense.
Jones, who has scored 213 points in 16 games, also hopes to benefit from the team’s acquired experience.
“Hopefully our experience from last year will take us farther,” Jones said. “I just want to play my hardest.”
Bryson, who is known for landing three-pointers, has totaled 184 points in 16 games.
Brown appreciated the outpouring of support from the Arlington community over the season. He takes pride seeing Arlington’s basketball logo on people’s houses and seeing Arlington’s gym packed with fans.
Arlington faced Lake Stevens on Jan. 31, after press time, so no score was available. Arlington hosts its last two games of the regular season against Snohomish on Feb. 4, and Mount Vernon on Feb. 6.
The boys’ post season run starts Feb. 11, meeting at the 4A District at Mountlake Terrace and Glacier Peak high schools.