Arlington’s Leyton Martin looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A boys district championship game against Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington’s Leyton Martin looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A boys district championship game against Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington boys top Mountlake Terrace for 3A district title

Leyton Martin scores 18 fourth-quarter points and makes key defensive stops late in the Eagles’ 61-53 win.

MARYSVILLE — The Arlington boys basketball team didn’t have many answers for Mountlake Terrace’s stout defense for much of three first three quarters.

Even when they did, the Eagles struggled to convert relatively clean looks at the basket.

The floodgates started to open midway through the third for Arlington, and Leyton Martin delivered the knockout punch with a tremendous all-around effort in the final quarter.

Martin poured in 18 of his game-high 27 in the fourth and came up with critical steals in the final moments as the third-seeded Eagles ended the top-seeded Hawks’ championship reign with a 61-53 victory in the Class 3A District 1 title game Saturday at Marysville Pilchuck High School.

As a result, the Arlington is a district champion for the first time in over a decade.

“It hasn’t really set in right now,” Arlington coach Nick Brown said. “These guys just played their tails off. You just hang around long enough and all of the sudden the next thing you know here we are. I’m just so proud of our guys and our staff.”

The victory ended Mountlake Terrace’s quest for a district three-peat and avenged the Eagles’ 57-34 title-game loss from a year ago.

“That was definitely a ton of extra motivation,” Martin said of last year’s loss. “As you can see, we were really motivated down the stretch, and that was the difference in this game.”

Arlington (16-8) fell behind 32-24 midway through the third for its largest deficit of the night after Terrace (21-2) opened up the quarter on a 12-0 run. The Eagles finally got on the board on a pair of Billy Kooy free throws and broke an over-four-minute scoreless drought from the field on Jake Willis’ midrange jumper that cut the Hawks’ lead to 32-28. Terrace senior Jaxon Dubiel pushed the lead back to 39-34 at the end of the third on a putback.

Then Martin took over. The junior point guard scored Arlington’s first six points of the fourth and converted on a difficult reverse layup to give Arlington its first lead since early in the third at 45-44.

After the teams traded baskets and senior Zaveon Jones put the Hawks ahead 48-47 on a layup, Kooy finished through contact and converted the ensuing free throw for a 50-48 Arlington lead. Kooy later tipped a rebound out to Martin after Arlington missed a pair of free throws, and Martin drained a deep 3-pointer to go up 53-48.

After a Jacoby Falor 3-pointer put the Eagles ahead 56-50, Martin drew a charge, came up with two key steals down the stretch that resulted Terrace standouts Dubiel and Jones committing their fifth fouls and sank 5-of-6 free throws to seal it.

“I just kind of felt that need to get something done,” Martin said of his late-game heroics. “It had been too close all game, I felt a little bit passive. So, I just had to finally lock in and take over.”

Arlington’s Leyton Martin is fouled while trying to shoot the ball during the 3A boys district championship game against Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington’s Leyton Martin is fouled while trying to shoot the ball during the 3A boys district championship game against Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kooy had 10 points and seven rebounds and Falor added nine points for Arlington.

Jones paced Terrace with 18 points and nine rebounds and Dubiel scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half after the Eagles held him without a field goal until midway through the third. Junior Rayshaun Connor chipped in 10 points.

The first half saw both team struggle find much rhythm offensively as they combined for eight turnovers over the first four minutes and 19 in the half. Martin led Arlington and scored all seven of his first-half points in second quarter as it grabbed a 24-20 lead at the break.

“Those are two defensive teams right there,” Brown said of the low-scoring first half. “I think (Mountlake Terrace) is one of the best teams in the state defensively, and I think we played with one of the best teams defensively.”

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