Specifically Tuesday night's season opener was the Eagles' first game without Terry Dawn, who last time he was suited up in navy blue and gold he became the school's all-time leading scorer in leading Arlington to a fifth-place finish at state last March.
After a slow start, Arlington settled down and got some big shots from Kaleb Bryson and Gavin Smoke in a decisive second quarter to beat Marysville Pilchuck 68-42 in the opener for both teams.
"We were a little tight coming out and Marysville has a better squad this year," said Arlington head coach Nick Brown. "I know it sounds silly but we hit shots and that was the difference for us tonight. We started making the extra pass and once we started doing that we really started finding our shot."
After a sloppy first quarter, Arlington found itself trailing 14-11 after Tomahawks guard Cole Grinde hit a jumper to open the second quarter. Then the Eagles started finding those shots, especially Smoke. The senior guard answered Grinde's bucket with one of his own and then poured in three 3-pointers to help the Eagles outscore MP 20-7 in the quarter and open up a 12-point halftime lead.
That's the thing about Gavin: He'll be out there a few minutes and not do anything but I don't want him off the court because you never know when he's going to get going," Brown said. "And tonight he got going. He hits some big threes. I thought that was the difference tonight."
Smoke's 13 points shared game-high honors with teammats Bryson and Noah Jones.
Arlington survived a sloppy third quarter in which both teams combined for nine turnovers and then stretched its lead in the fourth quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to win by the 26-point final margin.
"We had to cut down on the unnecessary turnovers; we were a little too careless with the ball than I would have cared to see," Brown said. "I'm confident when these seniors dial in and focus we're going to be OK."
Despite the large margin of victory, Brown was impressed with the young Tomahawks squad, who are coming off a season in which it won just one game.
"They have a better squad this year. You can see that they're going to be just fine," Brown said. "Bary does a really nice job with them. They've got some skill."
Arlington's defense did a nice job harrassing MP star forward Michael Painter, who was held to just seven points and had trouble finding an open shot all game. MP was led by the trio of Grinde, Bryce Juneau and Kaleb Keeton, who all scored eight points apiece.
At Marysville Pilchuck
Arlington 11 20 12 25 -- 68
Marysville Pilchuck 12 7 9 14 -- 42
Arlington--Kaleb Bryson 13, Donavan Sellgren 6, Gavin Smoke 13, Shawn Adams 1, Nathan Aune 6, Noah Jones 13, Connor Bovard 0, Bradey Brummel 11, Tylor Morton, Nate Lewis 5, Jeremy Bishop 0. Marysville Pilchuck--Bryce Juneau 8, Bryce Vitcovich 5, Nate Heckendorf 0, Josh Bevan 3, Mark Reznikov 0, Michael Painter 7, Cole Grinde 8, Dante Fields 1, TJ Rice 2, Kaleb Keeton 8. 3-point goals--Bryson 3, Sellgren 2, Smoke 3, Jones, Vitcovich, Painter, Bevan. Records--Arlington 1-0 overall. Marysville Pilchuck 0-1.
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