Arlington Eagles fight for playoff berth

ARLINGTON — Sometimes a break-out game can come during a loss.

Sophomore forward Bo Brummel showed as much during Arlington’s 77-68 Wesco North loss to rival Stanwood Jan. 22 in front of a near-packed house for the Coaches vs. Cancer game.

Brummel came off the bench with the dubious assignment of guarding 2009 first-team, all-conference selection Zack Johnson.

“He’s a big guy,” Brummel said of the 6-4 senior forward. “He’s probably the strongest guy in the league. It’s hard to push him around and I tried to put up a fight.”

Brummel’s tussle with Johnson led to Arlington’s advantage, as it was able to sideline Stanwood’s top option because of foul trouble. With the Spartans looking for ways to score without their go-to option, the Eagles owned a 29-27 lead at halftime.

Arlington (7-7 overall, 4-6 Wesco North) hung with Stanwood (9-6, 9-2) until midway through the fourth quarter when Johnson returned and scored eight of the Spartans next nine points. Stanwood’s 9-2 run made the score 58-53, a lead that Arlington could not recover from.

“They hit the big shots down the stretch and we didn’t,” said Arlington coach Nick Brown. “And they got a lot of the kinds of shots you need to win.”

But Stanwood wasn’t just getting layins, it connected on nine three-point attempts — three in a 28-point fourth quarter — to maintain without Johnson on the court and surge with him on it.

“Zack was phenomenal on the block and I think Bo did about as good a job as anybody could have asked of him,” Brown said. “You hit those dagger threes and it’s difficult to comeback from.”

Johnson finished with a game-high 28 points.

Leading the way for the Eagles was Eric Carlson with 19, points while Griffin Ginnis added 12 and Brummel scored 10.

The Eagles took it to the Spartans, getting to the foul line more than two dozen times, but could not convert on five straight attempts down the stretch to pull closer as time ran short.

The loss knocks Arlington into fifth place in the Wesco North, as it is in the midst of a three-game skid, but on a bright note, Brown said he saw an improved offense. Sixty-eight points is Arlington’s highest total in six games.

“We found some gaps and lanes in their zone, which is something that we’ve had trouble with lately,” he said. “The ball movement was as good as I’ve seen in a while.”

With just five spots receiving district berths, the Jan. 29 match up with Marysville-Pilchuck could determine which team moves on in two weeks and which gets ready for baseball.

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