1-on-1 with Arlington’s Jessica Ludwig

The junior captain is excited as the Arlington girls basketball team returns to the Tacoma Dome for its second consecutive 4A state tournament. The Eagles play Moses Lake in a quarterfinal Thursday at 12:15 p.m.

Q: How does it feel to get back to Tacoma and be back in the (Tacoma) Dome again?

A: We’re pumped. We’re just so excited about it. After what we did last year. After the game Saturday we were just yelling the whole time. It’s just a good feeling.

Q: What was it like playing in a state championship game last year?

A: It was insane. I didn’t even know what the state tournament was like. I was just a little baby sophomore and I was there just kind of going for the ride. Now it’s time to go back there and be serious about it again.

Q: How does that experience having played there before help you this season?

A: It gives us an idea of what the atmosphere is like – how crazy it is. And we can handle that a lot better this year since we know what to expect.

Q: After losing quite a few players from last year’s team, are you surprised to get back there?

A: “Why not us?” That’s what (Arlington head coach Joe) Marsh has been saying. Russell Wilson stole it from Marsh, apparently. He’s been saying that since last year and kept it going this year and we’re going back.

Q: What’s been the key to Arlington’s success this season? What have you guys been able to do to account for some of the players you lost after last season?

A: “Family basketball” is our main thing, just playing as a family and trusting each other. We’re a really young team but we don’t play young. We play with experience, even though we’re getting our experience right now.

Q: So you guys are a pretty close team?

A: Yeah. Marsh said we’re becoming the No. 1 weirdest team in the country, but we’re just friends, we goof around all the time. We’re comfortable with each other and we just love each other.

Q: Do you think the younger team can handle the pressure of the state tournament in Tacoma?

A: I think we’ll handle it. Last year, I didn’t even know what was happening. That’s what I think it will kind of be like with them. We’ll just go out and play like we always do.

Q: You do have one senior, Lyndsay Leatherman, what does she bring to the team for you guys?

A: She’s just a leader out on the court. She just dominates inside – she’s so strong. She just does what she does every game.

Q: How excited was Coach Marsh after the regional win against Todd Beamer last Saturday?

A: Oh man, he was pumped. He had nothing but good things to say. Nothing but smiles. I actually got two hugs from him. That’s like a record.

Q: What was going through your minds in the overtime (before Arlington won 35-33)? How were you able to pull that game out?

A: Defense was key, obviously with such a low-scoring game. None of us thought we were going to lose. We all knew we were going to come out with a win in that game. So we just went out in overtime, scored our one basket and called it good.

Q: Do you guys know anything about your next opponent: Moses Lake? Anything about the school, or the basketball team or where it’s located?

A: Not really. We just know that they’re kind of guard-heavy, so we’ll just pound it inside to Lyndsay and Jayla (Russ), work on our inside game and just do what we always do.

Q: What’s the plan for Tacoma? When do you guys head down? What time to you get to the gym on gameday?

A: It’s a 12:15 game, so we’re going to leave the school around 7:45 in the morning and get down there, stretch our legs and get serious and get ready to play.

Q: Is there any pressure as a captain, leading the team in the season and a big game like this?

A: When Marsh told me I was going to be a captain, I was really proud of that. It’s something I wanted, just to be a leader. I looked up to (former Eagles) Lindsay (Brown) and Krista (Showalter) last year and try to do what they do.

Q: What’s your prediction for Arlington at Tacoma? What’s going to happen?

A: Go out and win. Just go out and play like we do and I know we can win if we do what we’re capable of.

To read a preview of Arlington’s quarterfinal matchup with Moses Lake, click here.

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