Arlington boys basketball season ends at Districts

Arlington senior Andy Smith, left, and Zach Cooper, middle, pressure Stanwood full court. - Travis Sherer
Arlington senior Andy Smith, left, and Zach Cooper, middle, pressure Stanwood full court.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

STANWOOD — It seemed as if every Arlington player had at least one eye on Stanwood’s Zack Johnson.

Unfortunately for the undersized Eagles, that meant too many eyes focused on the post and away from the three-point line in a 67-46 District 1 tournament loss to Stanwood Feb. 17.

“He’s a force, that’s for sure,” said Arlington point guard Zach Cooper about Johnson. “You always have to know where he is.”

But as the first half showed the Eagles, a lead builds quicker with three-pointers than two-pointers as Stanwood connected on six first half shots from beyond the arc to build a 38-21 lead.

“They hit their shots and we didn’t tonight,” said Arlington coach Nick Brown. “We just weren’t able to get in the flow that we have these last couple weeks.”

Coming into the game, Arlington had won six of its last seven, including it’s highest scoring output of the season of 85 against Edmonds-Woodway just five days earlier.

Spartan senior Kale Schmidt did most of the damage early on, making all four of his threes in the first half. The 6-3 guard scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the first half.

And the second half belonged to Johnson, who scored 10 of his 15 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and assisting a handful of baskets.

“We struggled against Kale and Johnson all night, but it really just came down to us not making shots,” Brown said. “We’re just pretty bummed because we thought we had a good chance tonight.”

The loss puts the Eagles in a loser-out game with Mountlake Terrace Feb. 20 at Jackson.

It was clear early on that Arlington’s strategy was to keep Johnson — who had scored 50 points in two regular season meetings — from beating them.

“Their experience showed tonight,” said Brown about Stanwood, which features eight seniors on its roster. “They moved the ball well and found the right shots.”

Arlington, which only has one senior on its starting lineup on the other hand, faded after an Andy Smith trey tied the score at 8-8. In a game that could be dubbed as this year’s team to beat against next year’s, Stanwood attacked the rim and kicked out to open perimeter shooters with the ease that only comes from experience.

“I see us being like them with experience and playing at that level — not that we can’t do it this year, because we have shown we’re capable,” Brown said.

A week later, the Eagles started on fire against Mountlake Terrace with a 21-12 run, but couldn’t hold on as the Hawks chipped away. Arlington lost the game 68-62, ending their season. Carlson led the Eagles with 21 points, while Zach Cooper added 18.

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