By David Krueger Herald Writer
TACOMA — It didn’t end the way everyone in Arlington wanted it to.
Then again, the whole season didn’t go the way anyone expected.
To the surprise of many, Arlington High School found itself with two basketball teams in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, the only school to have both its teams reach the Tacoma Dome.
Then it was the only school to have both teams in the semifinals.
And the whole way, the Arlington fans were there to cheer, sing and scream.
“What can you say?” Eagles’ boys head coach Nick Brown said Saturday. “Today our fans were here for an early-morning game and the late championship game. I love being an Arlington resident. I can’t say enough about the community, the school, the farms, everything. It’s a great place to be.”
It had been years since Arlington experienced this kind of basketball success.
The Eagles’ last basketball championship came from the girls team in 1982. Two women on that team, Jerri Brummel and Lori Dawn, have sons on the Arlington boys team that placed fifth Saturday — the best finish in program history.
“(It’s a) nice way to have my son experience something we did in school,” Jerri Brummel said of her son Brady.
Players on both teams praised the Arlington fans for the support they provided in Tacoma.
“I can’t express enough my feelings for how the school and Arlington, how everyone’s came to support me. It’s unbelievable,” said Lori Dawn’s son Terry. “I can’t ask for anymore. It’s just a great place to grow up. I’m so happy I grew up here. I’m just so happy I’m from Arlington.”
The strong following in Tacoma was nothing new for the Arlington fans, who traveled all over the Northwest this season to show their love for their Eagles.
“It’s been unbelievable,” said Joe Marsh, the girls head coach. “It’s just been a great thing to share this success with them. We go to away games and have more fans there than the home teams.”
Having two teams in Tacoma tested the vocal cords not only of the Arlington fans — who were helped out when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association delayed the start of the girls semifinal game against Lake Stevens on Friday so the Arlington fans could stay for the end of the Jackson-Arlington boys semifinal — but also of the school’s cheerleaders.
The cheer squad performed at six games in three days.
“I’m exhausted,” senior cheer captain Alysa Turek said. “… It’s really exciting, especially having such a fun crowd.”
After the girls’ championship bid ended Saturday night with a 58-42 loss to Mead, the Arlington band showed it appreciated what the Eagles accomplished. “Love our ladies!” the band members chanted repeatedly. “Love our ladies!”
The girls posted the best finish for any Arlington team since the 1982 girls team and Dawn’s son Terry became the Eagles’ all-time leading scorer, collecting his 1,205th point in the final game of the season, an 80-68 loss to Garfield in the third/fifth place game.
“It was a fantastic season,” said Lori Dawn, who attended high school with Marsh, the girls basketball coach. “A mother wants her kid to have the best experiences and I’m happy for them all. It’s a connection they will always have. It’s an exciting life experience.”
As Terry Dawn and Brady Brummel hurried over to hug their mothers and pose for a picture on Saturday, Jerri Brummel grinned.
“It’s going to be extremely awesome having their picture next to ours on the Wall of Fame,” she said.
Arlington might want to consider adding a photo of its fans up there as well.