TACOMA — The Arlington community did all it could to show its support for the Eagles’ two state-bound basketball teams.
Before the teams left for the Tacoma Dome Thursday morning, there was a pep assembly at Arlington High School, followed by a police escort out of town.
A few hours later, the Arlington boys did all they could to reward their followers.
Terry Dawn recorded a double-double, with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and junior Noah Jones scored 20 points to lead Arlington to a 72-60 victory over Richland in a Class 4A state quarterfinal game at the Tacoma Dome.
“It’s great just knowing the whole community supports us,” Dawn said. “… Arlington’s just coming together for this.”
Jones — who had 10 points in the first half — scored the first eight points of the third quarter for Arlington as the Eagles continued to work the ball into the post.
Dawn also worked hard down low, grabbing rebounds and scoring on put-backs. To prove his versatility, he also made two 3-pointers.
“I told Noah at the start of the year, he’s an all-league, first-team kid,” Arlington head coach Nick Brown said. “He looked at me like I was crazy. I think he thought, ‘I’m just a junior.’ I knew he could do it. And what can you say about Terry. Terry’s Terry. He’s the best player we’ve ever had.”
Dawn and Jones continued to score inside in the second half. The duo helped Arlington (22-3) outscore Richland 18-10 in the third quarter as the Eagles began to pull away. Richland (18-5) made a little run in the third quarter, thanks to nine points from forward Nathan Streufert, but the Eagles shut the door for good.
“The kids made plays. They did what they had to do,” Brown said. “They rose up to the occasion. Arlington rose up to the occasion.”
Kaleb Bryson added 15 points for Arlington, whose girls also advanced to the 4A semifinals on Thursday. Arlington is the only school with both its boys and girls teams at the Tacoma Dome.
Brown was a little worried about Arlington before the game. The Eagles wandered to the wrong level of the Tacoma Dome and had a player fall down a ramp. The player, who Brown did not name, was OK and Arlington eventually found its way to the hardwood.
“We stepped on the floor and these guys, they just gave it everything,” Brown said.
After working through some early-game jitters the Eagles settled down and took care of business.
“When we first got here, I was really nervous,” Jones said, “but once I got on the court, I was just fine. Just ready to go.”
The win sets up an all-Wesco semifinal showdown at 5:30 p.m. today. The Eagles take on Jackson, a 55-47 winner over Central Valley, with the winner advancing to the 4A state title game Saturday night.
Immediately after the game the Eagles didn’t know who they would be playing, but Dawn certainly had a preference.
“I want Jackson again,” he said.
The Timberwolves beat Arlington twice this season, once in the regular season and then in the district championship on Feb. 15.
Brown, Dawn and the Eagles are clearly expecting a different outcome this time.
Said Brown: “We showed everybody what we’re about.”