Arlington Eagles basketball gets separation

Senior Andy Smith, left, contests a Marysville shot from Kyle Hinkley. - Travis Sherer
Senior Andy Smith, left, contests a Marysville shot from Kyle Hinkley.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

ARLINGTON — The Eagles officially became the masters of their destiny.

A 57-47 win over rival Marysville-Pilchuck Jan. 29 gave the Eagles a strangle hold on the fifth and final playoff berth coming out of the Wesco North. The fifth seed plays the fourth-place team out of the South division.

“We had been practicing all year knowing that this one was on the schedule,” said Arlington senior Andy Smith. “We knew that this one was going to go a long way in determining what we could do this season and it was so nice to get this one back.”

In an earlier conference match this season, the Eagles were shocked by the Tomahawks’ 60-51, come-back victory. Early on, a near packed Arlington gymnasium saw shades of that win before the Eagles stopped every Marysville attempt to rally.

“I was proud of the way we played tonight because everyone chipped in,” said Arlington coach Nick Brown. “Our defense was exceptional — we felt pretty good holding them to less than 50 points.”

Arlington broke out a full-court pressure in the second quarter to maintain it’s 19-11 first-quarter advantage. The pressure succeeded in forcing turnovers, creating a pace suitable for offensive improvisation and keeping the ball away from Marysville’s sensational sophomore Ryan Shannon, who had scored 15 or more points in each of his last three games.

“We just wanted to stop Shannon,” Brown said. “We really respect his game and know how much he can hurt you.”

Shannon led all M-P scorers with 11 points, along with Brandon Emch and Dom Kiblinger’s 10 a piece. Meanwhile, Arlington showed it could score without first option Eric Carlson, as four players score nine or more. Smith had a game-high 13 points, and Griffin Ginnis added 12.

The Tomahawks cut the Eagles’ lead in half with just eight minutes to play and the score 43-39 — the lead was actually down to just 49-47 with just 90 seconds remaining. But Arlington made five consecutive free throws and held M-P scoreless to capture the win.

“The bottom line is there’s still hope,” said Marysville-Pilchuck coach Bary Gould. “If we can take care of business, we can still accomplish the things we set out to do this season. We’re going to going to hope until there is absolutely no mathematical possibility, and even then we’ll keep going.”

The Tomahawks need to win all three games remaining on their schedule and get a little help to capture that fifth spot, which earns a spot in the play-in game to the District 1 tournament.

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