By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Arlington boys basketball coach Nick Brown was expecting a tough game against Edmonds-Woodway on Thursday night and his prediction was right on the money.
The visiting Eagles, ranked ninth in this week’s Class 4A state poll, never trailed against Edmonds-Woodway, but they never quite put away the Warriors either. After jumping out to an early 9-2 lead, Arlington did enough things well the rest of the way to cover up an assortment of miscues on the way to a 63-53 Western Conference 4A victory.
The victory improves Arlington’s season mark to 10-1, including a 6-0 mark atop the Wesco 4A North.
It was enough to make Brown smile after the game — except when he was frowning.
“Nothing came easy tonight,” he said. “It was a grind-it-out game against a good, physical team.”
The Eagles came in with a six-game winning streak, including three blowouts of 30 or more points. In that stretch “we’re used to things coming to us pretty easy, but nothing’s easy against (Edmonds-Woodway),” Brown said. “We never really pulled away from them.”
Arlington took an early lead, in part because the Warriors were missing their first six shots from the field. The Eagles led by seven points after one quarter, eight points at halftime, and then pushed the margin to 20 points, 52-32, with a 12-0 scoring burst late in the third period.
It had the makings of a potential blowout, but at that point the Warriors promptly countered with a 10-2 run of their own. The deficit was down to 10, 54-44, with five minutes to play in the game, but from there Arlington hit enough free throws in the late moments to hold on.
“I was frustrated a little bit (late in the game),” Brown admitted. “We weren’t doing the things we need to do to win games that we’re going to have to win. … We weren’t hitting our shots. But again, that’s a good team. They’re physical and we knew we were going to have a battle.
“I’m not upset with my team,” he added. With 10 wins in 11 outings, “I’m completely happy with where we are. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
Post Noah Jones, a 6-foot-3 senior, was big for the Eagles with 23 points while helping to hold 6-6 Edmonds-Woodway post Travis Bakken to 15. Guard Kaleb Bryson added 13 points for Arlington while guiding the team’s offense against the pesky Warriors defense.
Edmonds-Woodway coach Steve Call was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, but disappointed that his players did not shoot well. “We had some good looks,” he said. “They just didn’t fall.”
Call also credited the Eagles for keeping Bakken in check. “They defended the post well,” Call said, “and that really helped them. It was hard for (Bakken) to get any open looks once he caught (the ball), which obviously was their game plan.”
Wing Jason Smarr was high for the Warriors with 19 points, including 15 in the first half.
Edmonds-Woodway has just three returning varsity players from a year ago, so the goal is to gain experience for a possible run at the upcoming district tournament. “We keep calling it, ‘Climbing the mountain, climbing the mountain,” Call said. “And I like our chances district-wise.”
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Arlington 19 14 19 11 — 63
Edmonds-Woodway 12 13 11 17 — 53
Arlington—Kaleb Bryson 13, Donavan Sellgren 5, Gavin Smoke 5, Shawn Adams 7, Nathan Aune 0, Noah Jones 23, Brady Brummel 10, Nate Lewis 0, Jeremy Bishop 0.
Edmonds-Woodway—Trey Holland 0, Kelvin Dankwa 2, Jordan Rice 0, Brady Edwards 4, Tate Budnick 5, Ibro Polovina 0, Antonio Sherrill 2, Theo Lebesis 6, Jason Smarr 19, Travis Bakken 15, Chukwuma Okereke 0. 3-point goals—aleb Bryson 2, Gavin Smoke 1, Shawn Adams 1, Noah Jones 1, Tate Budnick 1, Jason Smarr 1. Records—Arlington is 6-0 in league, 10-1 overall. Edmonds-Woodway is 3-2, 4-6.