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Eagles fall apart in fourth quarter
ARLINGTON The outcome should have been better for the Arlington Eagles in their Jan. 29 matchup with the Lake Stevens Vikings.
Arlington went into the game with a great deal of momentum, building off two successful weeks of results in the Wesco North Conference. They were fresh off a 70-68 win over rival Stanwood. The team played as well as they have all year in the Stanwood game, looking cohesive on defense and offense and showing how dangerous they might be in the 3A playoffs.
But the wheels came off against a Lake Stevens team that played simple, solid basketball and frustrated the Eagles into some poor decisions. The Vikings used their power game down low to wear down the smaller Eagles and take control of the game. Lake Stevens went on to win 67-50 in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
For three full quarters Arlington looked like it would be the better team on the court. A.J. Richardson played some of his best basketball of the season, knocking down shots on offense and hounding the Viking guards on defense. Caleb Scarth had his turnaround jumper working for him and scored often against taller players in the post. Will Heaths full court pressure was creating turnovers and giving the Eagles easy baskets. But in the late third and early fourth quarter Arlington collapsed inwardly and gave the game to the Vikings. A series of miscues, turnovers and sloppy play allowed Lake Stevens to go on a run and stretch their lead out to 17 points. Arlingtons team came unraveled, mentally and physically.
After trailing by five at halftime Arlington made a third-quarter push to tie the game up. Lake Stevens answered with three consecutive baskets to lead 41-35. With just over a minute remaining in the third quarter Arlington got a terrific play that gave them a boost of momentum. Cole Carpenter drove the left side of the lane and flipped a pass to a cutting Tyler Busby near the left block. Busby made a clever tip pass to Scarth in traffic for a wide-open layup. The basket cut Lake Stevens lead to 41-37 and it appeared as though the Eagles might make a run of their own. Instead, the Vikings went on a 4-0 spurt to close the quarter and an 11-0 run to begin the fourth.
The fourth quarter began with Lake Stevens stalling. They worked the ball around the perimeter for one minute without so much as a look toward attacking the basket. A foul call on point guard Zach Cooper defending in the post put Arlington over the seven foul limit and gave the Vikings free throws. It was the beginning of the Eagles downward spiral.
During the 15-0 streak the Vikings frustrated Arlington out of their game plan. Body language gave away the disappointment the Eagles felt as they saw their chances of victory slipping away. Shots were missed on offense and the defensive intensity suffered for the Eagles. An intentional foul call on Carpenter with four minutes remaining was symptomatic of the collapse.
By the time Scarth hit a jumper to get Arlington going again the game was well out of reach 56-39 with 3:30 remaining. Lake Stevens held on to win by 17.
Its very frustrating, said Coach Nick Brown after the game. We lost our composure out there. We did not play family basketball tonight. Tonight was selfish. I could sense this was coming after the way our practice went the day before the game. We werent in sync as a team and we played like we practiced. Right now its easy to make a million excuses, but we didnt do what it takes to win.
Arlington falls to 5-8 in league, 6-11 overall.
Eagle Scoring: Scarth 15, Busby 10, Richardson 10, Carpenter 10, Heath 3, Peterson 2.