ARLINGTON — Arlington head coach Joe Marsh and the Eagles thought they were ready for Lynnwood, the top-ranked team in the Associated Press Class 4A girls basketball poll.
After four quarters Marsh admitted they weren’t.
Lynnwood held Arlington to just two points in the third quarter — and only allowed four field goals in the entire second half — as the Royals pulled away and defeated the Eagles 58-40 Friday night in a game featuring the top teams in the Wesco 4A at Arlington High School.
“Wow. You can quote me on this one. Wow,” Marsh said. “They’re a fantastic basketball team. That third quarter, that’s why they’re the best basketball team in the state right there. … They took it to another level and we were not prepared for that level of basketball.”
Arlington, the No. 8 team in the AP poll, hung with the Royals in the first half, even leading periodically throughout the first two quarters. Lynnwood used a 7-0 run to take the lead in the second quarter but only had a three-point lead at halftime.
Lynnwood would expand that lead significantly in the second half.
The Royals’ advantage continued to grow in the third as Lynnwood scored the first 18 points of the quarter, while not allowing an Arlington field goal in the period. The Eagles first basket from the field came on a Jessica Ludwig layup one minute into the fourth quarter.
By that point the Lynnwood lead was insurmountable.
“We just stuck with the same gameplan we had of trying to wear them down,” said Lynnwood head coach Everett Edwards. “We started off in a full-court-man pressure and we started the second half in full-court-man too. It was a situation that we hoped they would not continue with their hot shooting from the perimeter if we could kind of tire their legs out a little bit.”
Arlington struggled with the aggressive Royals’ defenders, which disrupted shots and passes all over the floor.
“The problem is you just can’t simulate that in practice,” Marsh said. “There’s no way. You can talk about it. You just can’t simulate it.”
Lynnwood was clicking on offense as well. Despite Arlington’s height advantage, the Royals outrebounded the Eagles thanks in large part to Mikayla Pivec. The sophomore wing grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with her 15 points.
“Mikayla Pivec is one of the most impressive players I’ve ever seen,” Marsh said. “She’s just everything. And she makes it look easy. I said at halftime, ‘If we don’t block her out she’s going to have 28 offensive rebounds.’ She does it all for them.
“And the problem with Lynnwood is they have multiple (stars). Jasmin (Edwards) is great, Jordyn (Edwards), they bring players off the bench. They just don’t have any weaknesses. They’re all impressive.”
Jasmin Edwards and Monty Cooper added 11 points each for Lynnwood (8-0 league, 12-1 overall). Both teams had players falling to the floor battling for rebounds and loose balls. The Royals showed no hesitation against the taller Arlington defenders. The Eagles have three players listed at 6-feet or taller on their roster.
Lynnwood has none.
“We know Coach Joe Marsh is going to have his kids ready to play and they take after his personality and he’s got a fiery personality. We knew they were going to be physical,” Everett Edwards said. “… Our kids don’t back down from a physical challenge. We might be a little undersized but we have a lot of heart and that showed, I think, tonight.”
The Royals improved to 3-0 against Arlington in the last two seasons, including a 61-49 victory in the district championship game last season.
“It’s a big win,” Edwards said. “Arlington’s 11-1 (going into Friday night’s game) and we kind of got a little bit of a rivalry in the short two years we’ve been up in 4A. We’ve played some great games in great atmospheres.”
Serafina Balderas, Emma Janousek, Jessica Ludwig, Jayla Russ and Lyndsay Leatherman all had a team-high seven points for Arlington (7-2, 12-2), which lost its second-straight game of the season.
Marsh is confident, however, that his team will rebound from the loss against Lynnwood.
He’s also thankful for the chance to play the Royals.
“It’s a great learning experience for us,” Marsh said. “If you want to compete in the Tacoma Dome and compete for district championships you’re going to have to face teams like that. For us, that’s the best team we’ve seen all year. Now we know where we need to get to. It’s not often you get to test yourself against one of the best teams in the state this time of year. We did it, now we see where we need to go.”
At Arlington H.S.
Lynnwood 12 17 18 11 — 58
Arlington 15 11 2 12 — 40
Lynnwood–Jasmin Edwards 11, Monty Cooper 11, Grace Douglas 0, Mikayla Pivec 15, Kelsey Rogers 8, Chelsea Tuiasosopo-Campbell 0, Hannah Valavala 0, Jordyn Edwards 6, Amina Donahoe 3, Danielle Hayes 4. Arlington–Gracie Castaneda 0, Serafina Balderas 7, Sarah Shortt 0, Sevi Bielser 3, Brittany DeNike 2, Emma Janousek 7, Jessica Ludwig 7, Abby Anderson 0, Jayla Russ 7, Lyndsay Leatherman 7. 3-point goals–Ja. Edwards 1, Jo. Edwards 2, Donahoe 1, Balderas 2, Bielser 1, Janousek 1, Ludwig 1, Russ 2. Records–Lynnwood 8-0 league, 12-1 overall. Arlington 7-2, 12-2.