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Furious rally falls short for Eagles
The Arlington boys basketball team dug themselves a deep first half hole against arch rival Stanwood on Dec. 21.
The Eagles, playing without guard Cole Carpenter and forward Caleb Scarth, spotted Stanwood a 16 point halftime lead. The Spartans extended their lead in the third quarter and looked to have put the game away, but a dogged comeback from the home team nearly brought the Eagles all the way back. Arlington got within five points at the end, losing 53-48.
In the early stages of the game Arlington appeared to be the better team on the court. Forward Brad McPherson registered a quick steal and ignited a fast break opportunity on the games first possession. Tyler Busby found Will Heath streaking to the basket for the Eagles first basket.
The Eagles immediately went into their full-court pressure defense, chasing Stanwood from sideline to sideline. The pressure clearly bothered Stanwoods guards as they fought to cross halfcourt. Arlington forced the Spartans into a passive offensive attack, with four players roaming the far edges of the perimeter. For the Eagles on offense, Busby again scored on a drive down the right side of the lane to give them a one point lead. Later Lucas Larson nailed a three to make the score 7-7 in the early going.
From that point on, the scoring well dried up for Arlington. The Spartans closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run. Due to a severe shortage of players, Coach Nick Brown brought up three freshman to play on varsity. The young men were called into action early and looked exactly like freshman getting their feet wet on the varsity.
The second quarter was just as unkind to Arlington, with the team only managing four more points before halftime. As the Eagles struggled to put the ball in the hoop, Stanwood adjusted to the pressure defense of Arlington and began finding seams. A questionable whistle on Will Heath gave the starting guard his third foul of the half, costing the Eagles their best ballhandler.
In the third quarter the outlook continued to worsen. Despite Busbys best efforts, the Eagles could not close the gap. The forward scored a number of times in the lane, but Arlingtons defense could not keep Stanwood out of the paint. The Spartans continually found holes in the zone and punished the Eagles inside. At the end of three, Stanwood led 42-22.
The fourth quarter turned out to be all Arlington. The Eagles, led by a pair of forwards clawed back into the game. Busby continued to play a strong court game and he got some assistance from A.J. Richardson, who began to take the ball to the hoop on dribble drives. They dropped 26 points in one quarter on the visiting Spartans, but it was too little, too late as the visiting team held on for a five-point win, 53-48.
For Arlington, it was a good show of mettle to compete that well while missing two key players. The Eagles expect a healthy return from both Scarth and Carpenter in the coming week, bolstering the team up a notch.