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Eagles comeback from early deficit but still suffer loss
ARLINGTON The Eagles overcame an early deficit during the second and third quarters in their home match against Monroe, but poor shooting and foul trouble allowed the Bearcats to recover during their 54-40 victory over host Arlington on Jan. 4.
A late start put the Arlington High School Eagles behind the eight-ball early on, but hustle and determination made up a 10-point deficit shortly after the half, as the Eagles worked on defense to help keep control of the ball and maintain scoring opportunities. The hard work paid off when 63 center Caleb Scarth put the Eagles ahead 33-31 with a minute remaining in the third period.
But lack of communication and focus during the final frame sent the gains down the drain, as Monroe would score 23 points to Arlingtons seven. Poor shooting gave the Bearcats the ball time and again, and they didnt miss chances to capitalize on the bounty.
Arlington opened with a poor first quarter, putting only four points on the board to Monroes 15. During the next two periods they would hold the Bearcats to a total of 16 points, with only six in the third period. During that time the Eagles put up 29 points, with 15 in the third, when they briefly held the lead.
Things were looking good, but not for long.
I felt like we just fell apart in the fourth quarter, said Eagles forward Brad McPherson.
Arlingtons tougher defense helped turn the tide in the middle of the second quarter, he explained, when their smart guard defense was the strategy, to keep possession and make some plays.
Monroe noticed. Jason Waltman is a 67 forward who said his team played the hardest during the first two quarters, and then lost their focus, and the lead. They were crippled by some easy turnovers that were converted to points by Arlington, he added.
The fourth quarter we put it together, Waltman said.
Thats due to Monroe coach Brett Wille, who called several timeouts to calm our heads down, and layout the strategy to turn the tide. That meant turning up the pressure on defense.
I just said they were out playing us, Wille said. They were really out hustling us. They were playing harder than us, which is Arlington; they probably play as hard as anyone in our league. I just told our guys to pick it up.
Second-year Arlington coach Nick Brown said his men turned in a streaky performance and Monroe was able to take advantage of the bad streaks.
We came out flat, Brown said of the first period, when his team made only two of their 14 attempts. Tough D is what made up the deficit and took the lead, however briefly, but at the end for every basket Arlington missed, Monroe seemed to put up points.
We just didnt hit any of the shots we needed in the fourth, Brown said after the post-mortem with his assistants in the coachs office. You hit the shots and things go well. We didnt quite execute the way we needed to execute.
Arlingtons 63 post Caleb Scarth led his team with 12 points but rued the missed opportunities during the finale.
We just cant finish, Scarth lamented after the game. We had two bad quarters and it killed us.
The slow start made things bad, but a communication breakdown put the final nail on the coffin.
We just werent talking and we lost focus, Scarth explained. We just didnt talk and they had some easy lay-ins.
Monroe also made hay as Arlington got into foul trouble during the final frame, as Brown told his players to get physical in attempt to get the ball back. Instead the Bearcats did very well at the line and made 15 points, all from free throws, missing only five attempts. They had only eight points from field goals during the same period.
For Brown it didnt help that one of his top players was injured: he boosted freshman Zach Cooper to the varsity team for the game. Cooper is only 57 but was third in scoring with eight points, two of them treys. He will be a future leader, Brown predicted.
We came back hard and made up a pretty big deficit, then we just gave it back, Brown said. We just gave them too many easy buckets in the fourth quarter.