LAKE STEVENS — Christmas time can be a challenging time of year for high-school basketball teams. For those that don’t participate in holiday tournaments, the break between games can be quite substantial.
Arlington hadn’t played a game in nine days before facing Lake Stevens on Monday — and it showed in the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Vikings, there are four quarters in a game and the Eagles owned the final three to win 56-47.
“We haven’t played in a week and I was a little bit worried about that,” Arlington head coach Joe Marsh said. “They came out in their zone and we were just kind of stagnant offensively. It’s one of those (Christmas) break games and we talked about it and we just came out and did what we didn’t want to do.”
Emily Vandegrift gave the Vikings a three-point lead with back-to-back baskets early in the first quarter and she followed that up with an assist to Kali Long that gave Lake Stevens a 7-2 lead. Arlington responded with five straight points — a three by Sevi Bielser and a two by Lyndsay Leatherman — to tie the score at 7-7.
“I told them we just really needed to pick it up offensively and get some movement and we’re going to be better off,” Marsh said. “We started to get some more movement against their zone and we were a little bit more effective.”
The Vikings closed out the quarter on an 8-1 run to lead 15-8, but Biesler and Leatherman would have a lot more to say about the outcome before the game’s end.
Lake Stevens extended to a 20-11 lead, its largest of the game, early in the second quarter, but Arlington had settled down on both ends of the floor. The inside-outside attack of Bielser and Leatherman was working and the Eagles quickly clawed their way back into the game. Arlington went on an 8-0 run highlighted by Bielser’s second three of the game and it took a 21-20 lead, its first lead since being up 2-1 in the opening minutes.
Biesler added another three with two seconds left in the half to give the Eagles a 24-22 halftime lead.
Leatherman’s presence in the key helped the Eagles extend the lead early in the third quarter and Bielser’s back-to-back 3s in the waning moments of the third gave Arlington its biggest lead of the night at 41-30.
“Lyndsay has been doing a great job all year,” Marsh said. “She’s been a force down low and whenever we can get her the ball we want to. Sevi is playing more and more minutes. I love the kid because she can shoot with confidence and she knocked them down tonight. She made them tonight and they were big.”
The Vikings came into the game focused on stopping Leatherman.
“Our attention certainly was on Lyndsay,” Lake Stevens head coach Randall Edens said. “We wanted to kind of sumo her up. In other words, take one player in our zone and when a shot goes up really just go face her and not allow her to get to the basket. She’s just such an immovable force that if she’s anywhere close (to the basket), you’re in trouble.”
Leatherman finished with a game-high 18 points, none bigger than her baseline jumper with less than two minutes to play that gave the Eagles a seven-point lead.
Bielser made a jump shot from just inside the three-point line moments later, her only two of the game, which all but sealed the game. She finished with 17 points.
Despite the loss, Edens was happy with the way his young team battled and said it was something it could build on going forward.
“We needed something like this just to kind of show that we can be competitive,” Edens said. “The (Wesco) north is always very competitive. I think for our kids to be able to say, ‘hey, we can play with a really good squad like Arlington.’ It’s a starting point.
“Hopefully this is just kind of a stepping stone.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Arlington—Gracie Castaneda, Serafina Balderas, Sarah Short, Sevi Bielser, Brittany DeNike, Olivia Larson, Emma Janousek, Emmi Modahl, Jessica Ludwig, Jayla Russ, Lyndsay Leatherman. Lake Stevens—Alex Briggs, Emma Smith, Cassidy Fifield, Kristen Glick, Kacie Reichert, Anna Dominick, Ivy Jacobsen, Marissa Walton, Emily Vandegrift, Kali Long, Hailey Wilson. 3-point goals—xxx. Records—Arlington x-x league, x-x overall. Lake Stevens x-x, x-x.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Arlington – 8 16 17 15 – 56
Lake Stevens – 15 7 10 15 – 47
Arlington – Gracie Castaneda 2, Serafina Balderas 1, Sarah Shortt 0, Sevi Biesler 17, Brittany DeNike 0, Emma Janousek 6, Jessica Ludwig 2, Jayla Russ 8, Lyndsay Leatherman 18. Lake Stevens – Cassidy Fifield 2, Kristen Glick 4, Kacie Reichert 12, Anna Dominick 0, Ivy Jacobsen 3, Marissa Walton 2, Emily Vandegrift 13, Kali Long 11, Hailey Wilson 0. 3-point goals – Biesler 5, Russ 1, Reichert 2, Jacobsen 1. Records – Arlington 2-0 league, 7-0 overall. Lake Stevens 0-2, 3-5.