Playing at 10:30 a.m., the Eagles didn’t hit their first field goal until nearly 3 minutes into the second quarter and Inglemoor rode the quick start to a 46-26 win in a 3A state loser-out consolation bracket game at Tacoma Dome.
The loss ends Arlington’s season at 21-6 and, a year after finishing second in the 4A tournament, short of a trophy.
“I don’t think (the early start) affected us,” said Arlington head coach Joe Marsh. “It sure didn’t affect Inglemoor.”
Inglemoor’s length inside, specifically 6-foot-4 post Deja Strother, frustrated Arlington early and held the Eagles to only Jessica Ludwig’s free throw in the first quarter. The Vikings led 17-1 after the first quarter.
“We knew their length was going to be a problem,” Marsh said. “You take Deja Strother. You rarely see a girl like that in high school. So we thought if they’re going to go big, let’s go fast. But it didn’t really work out.”
In the second quarter, Arlington got its first field goal, a Gracie Castaneda 3-pointer, at the 5:14 mark. Castaneda would finish the quarter with eight points as Arlington outscored Inglemoor 14-7 in the quarter to draw to within 24-15 at halftime.
“I’m really proud that we didn’t hang our heads,” Marsh said. “At 17-1 we could have easily packed it up and said we’re done. That’s what I love about this group. They fight and no matter what happens they’re going to go battle the rest of the way.”
That second quarter success didn’t carry over to the second half, however, as Inglemoor limited the Eagles to 3-for-27 (11 percent) shooting and just 11 points in the second half.
The loss, coupled with Thursday’s defeat at the hands of Moses Lake, sends the Eagles home without a win in Tacoma, a year after placing second in the tournament.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the way we played in the state tournament that’s probably the hardest thing,” Marsh said. “I don’t think it was a good representation of who we were all year.
“But I told them you can’t pay for an experience like this. There’s nothing you can do in the summer that gives you this type of experience and I think it will pay off the next two years.”
Most of Arlington’s roster is made up of sophomores, with Lyndsay Leatherman and Jessica Ludwigh the ony upperclassmen (Ludwig, a junior, will be back next year). Jayla Russ, Emma Janousek and Castaneda, who led all Arlington scorers with 10 on Friday, all return to a team that should challenge for a third straight trip to Tacoma. Late in the game with the result longer in question, Marsh emptied his bench to get his youngest players the experience of playing on the big stage.
“They worked hard all year, we weren’t going to win the game, so let’s get some of them in the tournament and get their name in the box score,” Marsh said.
Leatherman scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds in her final game as an Eagle.
Arlington sophomore Jayla Russ suffered a concussion when she fell hard to the ground in the first quarter and hit her head against the floor. Russ went to the locker room and eventually returned the bench, but she never re-entered the game. Russ was also injured in the Eagles’ quarterfinal loss to Moses Lake when she hit her knee against the basket standard. She did return to Thursday’s game.
At Tacoma Dome
Arlington 1 14 5 6 — 26
Inglemoor 17 7 11 11 — 46
Arlington—Gracie Castaneda 10, Serafina Balderas 2, Sarah Short 0, Sevi Bielser 0, Brittany DeNike 0, Olivia Larson 2, Emma Janousek 2, Emmi Modahl 0, Jessica Ludwig 3, Jayla Russ 0, Lyndsay Leatherman 4, Abby Anderson 3. Inglemoor—Jordana Price 7, Alex Hagen 9, Deja Strother 13, Ifeoma Emeka 1, Kennedy Nicholas 4, Mackenzie Gardner 2, Chiijoke Emeka 0, Hannah McCausland 0, Brooklyn Walker 8, Sammi Williams 2. 3-point goals—Castaneda 2, Anderson, Hagen. Records—Arlington 21-6 overall. Inglemoor 22-4.
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