I believe Arlington and Stanwood are two good teams, and the Spartans just got the better of the Eagles in their 58-41 win Saturday night.
I know 17 points seems like a huge differential, and it is. But remember, Arlington defeated Stanwood 55-38 at Arlington High School on Nov. 30. I’m not great at math, but I believe that is also a 17-point margin.
So what did Saturday night’s game tell us?
It told us that Stanwood would likely still be competing for a Wesco North title if it was still in 4A. The Spartans were relocated to 3A this past offseason, and have already clinched the 3A North title. Stanwood is doing this despite the fact that seven key seniors graduated last year, leaving a huge hole in the varsity basketball team.
Nevertheless, the Spartans are still winning. Stanwood head coach Dennis Kloke liked what he saw Saturday night, even if the Spartans found themselves in a bit of foul trouble. In the third quarter Stanwood had out-fouled Arlington 8-to-1, giving the Eagles bonus free throws before the fourth quarter even started.
“I still think we’ve got 20 percent more improvement in us,” Kloke said. “But this is a game where I saw positives on offense and positives on defense. We moved the ball and were unselfish.”
Arlington, meanwhile, had a tough go Saturday night. After starting the year 14-0, the Eagles lost two of their three games this week. But it seems important to note that those games were against Lynnwood (ranked No. 2 in The Herald Power Poll) and Stanwood (No. 3). Both games were also on the road for Arlington in what could definitely be classified as hostile environments.
Saturday night’s game came less than 24 hours after Arlington had an intense, hard-fought battle with Monroe. The Eagles came out on top 43-41 in that game, but seemed tired in the early part of the Stanwood game.
Arlington head coach Joe Marsh said the slow start was the difference in the game.
“We came out flat,” Marsh said. “Because of the back-to-back games, we played tired in the first half. They came out ready to go. And Stanwood is a good team.”
Marsh was quick to point out he wasn’t making excuses. He continued to say that all teams are a little tired after the grind of the 20-game season.
“That was probably one of our worst starts of the year, and it happened against a really good team,” Marsh said.
So no, two losses don’t mean Arlington’s season is in a tailspin. The Eagles will still be one of the top-five (probably still a top-three) team in the next Herald Power Poll. I expect Arlington, which is ranked No. 5 in the state in 4A in the latest Associated Press poll, to rebound and continue a successful and impressive season.
(One caveat to this is Arlington star forward Lindsay Brown, who hurt her knee while going for a rebound in the final two minutes of Saturday’s game. The Eagles have many other great players – including guards Krista Showalter, Taylor Graham and Winter Brown – but the loss of Lindsay Brown would be a huge blow to the team.)
As for Stanwood, the Spartans are where they always seem to be this time of year. Rolling.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy some spectacular Wesco girls basketball, whether it’s in 3A, 4A, the North or the South.
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