There is little doubt that Arlington is a good boys basketball team -- and Friday in a 4A District 1 tournament semifinal the Eagles answered every run the Edmonds-Woodway made in a 58-47 win.
With the victory, the Eagles advanced to state regional round, as well as the district championship game against Jackson next Friday at Glacier Peak High School.
Twice in Friday's victory, the Eagles extended to a lead of 10 points or more, only to see Edmonds-Woodway respond with a run of its own to get back into the game. But every time the Warriors got close, Arlington would hit a timely 3-pointer or drive to the rim for a score and a foul to get its cushion back.
"These kids are good shooters," Arlington coach Nick Brown said. "I want them to be able to shoot the ball without thinking."
Bradey Brummel knocked down two 3-pointers back-to-back in the second quarter that gave the Eagles a 27-16 lead, but the biggest shot of the night was made by Kaleb Bryson. Bryson's 3 with 5:11 to play in the game gave the Eagles a nine-point lead and the Warriors never quite recovered.
Bryson's shot was at the tail end of an 8-0 run by Arlington that turned a 40-39 lead into a 48-39 advantage.
Edmonds-Woodway point guard Devin Joseph drew the Warriors to within one with his old fashioned three-point play early in the quarter. They had a chance to take their first lead since the second quarter on the next possession, but failed to convert.
"We came down and had a nice transition lay up and we missed that and we turned the ball over way too much in the last four minutes," Edmonds-Woodway coach Steve Call said. "Arlington can shoot. They hit their 3s. They really outworked us on the boards and made Travis (Bakken) struggle inside. You could sense that was their game plan, so it worked for them.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Eagles had made just three of their six free throw attempts, a number that would have to improve in the fourth quarter in order to hang on and win.
Not only did it improve -- it was perfect.
Arlington shot 11-for-11 in the fourth quarter to help close out the Warriors.
"These guys were focused in the fourth, you could see it in their eyes," Brown said. "They are a good free throw shooting team and these are mentally tough kids."
Now the 20-2 Eagles can turn their attention to 22-0 Jackson and next Friday's district championship game. The two teams faced each other earlier in the year and Jackson won by 14 points.
"I don't think that any of us think that Jackson is not, if not the best team in the state, one of them and it's a nice situation to be in where we can go play them for a game," Brown said. "We don't have to worry about going home. We are in regionals now. We've got our goal of that. I think it will be good because I know we played them earlier in the year and I just don't think we did our best."
And for Edmonds-Woodway Friday night's game was just another example of a game that got away.
"As the buzzer went off I was reminded of how we have struggled to finish close games," Call said.
And this opportunity came with the worst of consequences. The Warriors must win every game they play for the remainder of the tournament, or their season ends.
"That was the biggest game so far of the year for us," Call said. "You win that and you qualify for a regional. It's hard to swallow."
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Arlington H.S.
Edmonds-Woodway 13 11 10 13 -- 47
Arlington 11 18 9 20 -- 58
Edmonds-Woodway--Devin Joseph 18, Alex Hull 0, Brad Rice 3, Luke Langdale 11, Theo Lebesis 0, Jason Smarr 8, Travis Bakken 9, Henry Olson 0. Arlington--Kaleb Bryson 12, Terry Dawn 11, Gavin Smoke 2, Noah Jones 8, A.J. Passalaqua 7, Ryan Walker 0, Bradey Brummel 16, Nate Lewis 2. 3-point goals--Joseph 2, Rice 1, Langdale 2, Smarr 1, Bryson 1, Passalaqua 1, Brummel 2. Records--Edmonds-Woodway 14-8 overall. Arlington 20-2.
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