STANWOOD — Officially, there wasn’t a lot on the line in Saturday night’s nonleague game between the Arlington and Stanwood girls basketball teams.
Both teams had already clinched playoff berths, and the game between the 3A Spartans and 4A Eagles had no impact on either teams’ league records.
It was just for pride. And preparation for the playoffs.
With the Stanwood gym rocking as fans from both sides cheered, the Spartans came out on top — despite finding themselves in a bit of foul trouble — and defeated Arlington 58-41.
“These are the games we want to play,” said Stanwood head coach Dennis Kloke. “We want to play good teams like Arlington.”
The 17-point difference was identical to the first time these two teams met earlier in the year, only that time the Eagles were victorious 55-38.
The former conference rivals find themselves in different classifications this season, with the Spartans relocated to 3A. But that didn’t stop the teams from scheduling two nonconference games against each other — one at each school — and keeping the basketball Stilly Cup going.
Stanwood got going a little bit quicker, outscoring the Eagles 33-17 in the first two quarters. The lead held, despite Arlington’s best efforts in the second half.
“That was probably one of our worst starts of the year, and it happened against a really good team,” said Joe Marsh, the Eagles’ head coach.
Marsh attributed part of the slow start to Arlington’s game the night before, a hard-fought 43-41 win over Monroe Friday night. He said his team was tired in the first half and the Eagles’ slow start turned out to be the difference in the game.
“We came out flat,” Marsh said. “Because of the back-to-back games, we played tired in the first half. They came out ready to go. And Stanwood is a good team.
“It’s tough. It’s that time of the year where everyone’s gearing up for the stretch run and they’re tired. That’s not an excuse though. Everyone’s tired.”
Arlington was able to close the gap a bit in the third, outscoring Stanwood 18-13 after the break. The Eagles were aided by Stanwood’s two post players Tristan Murphy and Rachel Swartz, who found themselves on the Spartans’ bench in foul trouble.
By the end of the game, both teams had several players in foul trouble. Arlington and Stanwood finished the game with 17 and 19 fouls, respectively.
Kloke didn’t disagree with the foul calls. At least the ones called on his Stanwood team.
“We did a lot of reaching,” Kloke said. “We fouled.”
By the end of the third quarter the Spartans had out-fouled Arlington 8-to-1, putting the Eagles in the bonus with 1:30 left in the third.
“I’m not going to complain about trying to get the ball and just reaching a little late,” Kloke said.
Arlington utilized four free throws while more than doubling their point total in the third quarter. But in the fourth they were outscored 12-6 as Stanwood pulled away.
“This is a great game to prepare us for the end of the season,” Marsh said. “What we really need to know is in games like this you have to bring it from the minute the ball goes up. We can’t start out so slow.”
Despite sitting a good portion of the third and fourth quarters, Murphy still led the Spartans in scoring with 14 points while grabbing five rebounds. Jillian Jacobs and Samantha Powell each scored 12 points apiece and Swartz added 10 points and six rebounds.
With his two starting posts in foul trouble, Kloke used Janea Taylor significantly in the second half. He was very pleased with the junior’s presence down low, which helped the Spartans continue without two of their leading scorers. Taylor finished with four points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.
“Janea had to go in and I thought she did a great job,” Kloke said. “She made some big, big plays offensively.”
In the final two minutes, Arlington may have lost more than the game. Eagles star forward Lindsay Brown fell to the floor after trying to get a rebound with 1:20 to go in the game, and remained on the ground holding her knee. She was helped off the court, but appeared to be walking for postgame handshakes.
Kloke, who talked with Brown after the game, seemed confident she would be all right.
“I think Lindsay Brown is one heck of a player,” Kloke said. “I just hope she’s okay. I talked to her and she said she’ll be okay.”
Brown finished with a team-high 13 points for Arlington and also grabbed six rebounds.
At Stanwood High School
Arlington 10 7 18 6 — 41
Stanwood 18 15 13 12 — 58
Arlington–Taylor Graham 10, Veronica Ladines 0, Lindsay Brown 13, Krista Showalter 11, Emma Janousek 0, Jessica Ludwig 2, Winter Brown 3, Lyndsay Leatherman 2, Marissa Swegle 0. Stanwood–Sierra Palmer 3, Lauren Allison 3, Julia Heichel 0, Samantha Powell 12, Haley Strowbridge 0, Jillian Jacobs 12, Janea Taylor 4, Rachel Swartz 10, Tristan Murphy 14. 3-point goals–Graham 3, L. Brown 1, W. Brown 1, Palmer 1, Powell 2, Jacobs 3. Records–Arlington 15-2 overall. Stanwood 14-2.