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Third quarter dooms Arlington
Playoff basketball comes with its own unique atmosphere of high intensity play, raucous crowds and pressure to perform. The Arlington Eagles boys basketball team came out strong against the Ferndale Golden Eagles but a cold third quarter cost them a victory and they lost 65-61. The Feb. 20 contest set Arlington back in the district bracket but did not eliminate them from post-season play.
For the Eagles, all looked under control at the beginning of the game. The offense staked them to a 14-13 lead when Jerad Barber took a charge on defense to give them more momentum. On the ensuing possession Cole Carpenter came off a double screen at the top of the key and drilled a 3-pointer to give Arlington a 17-13 lead at the quarter break.
To start the second period Tyler Busby knocked down a three of his own and then found Carpenter on a diagonal basket cut for another Arlington score. Busby scored underneath on a slippery move to extend Arlingtons lead to five points.
On their next defensive possession Busby chased after a long rebound that looked headed into the Arlington bench. He slid onto the ground and held onto the ball while alertly looking for a teammate. Busby found Brad McPherson who launched a 70-foot pass the length of the floor to teammate Will Heath. Heath shoveled a pass to a cutting A.J. Richardson who scored a layup high off the glass, plus got fouled. Richardson converted the free throw and Arlington led 27-19. It forced Ferndale into a timeout with four minutes remaining in the half.
The Golden Eagles resolved to switch screens on defense and go to the boards on offense. The strategy began to pay dividends immediately as Arlingtons lead was cut to two points before halftime, 32-30.
The third quarter proved to be the decisive point of the game for Ferndale. They built off their first half run to win the quarter 16-9. If not for two made free throws by Barber at the end of the quarter the game might have slipped away entirely.
Arlington trailed by five heading into the final period and Ferndale knocked down a 3-pointer on their first possession to lead 49-41. Heath then took a pass at midcourt, broke through the Ferndale press, and converted a basket plus a foul on the offensive end. On Arlingtons next possession he found a cutting Caleb Scarth for a short jumpshot. Lucas Larson then made a three from the wing to pull Arlington within 53-49.
A Scarth bucket underneath the rim brought the Eagles to within four with a little over one minute remaining. Arlington fouled Ferndale and the Golden Eagles missed one of their free throw attempts. Busby made them pay by draining another three to make it a one possession game, 62-59. Arlington fouled again and Ferndale obliged by missing two consecutive free throws.
Down three points with the ball, Busby drove the lane and found himself seven feet from the basket. He leaned into a tough, contested jumper and it held up on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before trickling out.
Arlington had to foul immediately and Ferndale made both free throws to ice the game.
Arlington lost another nailbiter 58-56 to Shorecrest in the consolation bracket of the District tournament, ending their season.