Arlington’s Leyton Martin takes the ball down the court during the 3A boys state basketball game against Garfield on Wednesday in Tacoma. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington’s Leyton Martin takes the ball down the court during the 3A boys state basketball game against Garfield on Wednesday in Tacoma. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington boys’ upset bid falls short in OT against Garfield

The Eagles give the defending Class 3A state champions a scare in a 60-58 loss.

TACOMA — The Arlington High School boys basketball team gave defending state champion Garfield a run for its money, but the Eagles fell just shy of an upset.

A standout performance from junior Leyton Martin and a second-half comeback weren’t enough, as 11th-seeded Arlington fell to the No. 3 Bulldogs 60-58 in overtime in a loser-out round of 12 game at the Class 3A Hardwood Classic on Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.

“We came out and we didn’t do very well, and we knew that,” Arlington head coach Nick Brown said. “So we had to settle down a bit and we talked about sharing the ball and doing it together as a group. We did a better job of that in the second half.”

Martin chalked up 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter. Senior Jacoby Falor had 11 of his 13 points in the second half, and Jackson Trotter pitched in 12 points (all in the second half) and four rebounds.

Legend Smiley led Garfield (16-6) with 18 points and seven rebounds.

After trailing 21-8 at the end of the first period, and 27-12 in the early stages of the second, the Eagles (19-7) mounted a rally. Arlington closed the lead to nine at 29-20 at the half and outscored Garfield 17-6 in the third quarter.

Martin carried the Eagles through the first half, posting 16 of Arlington’s first 20 points. In the third, the other Eagles showed up on the offensive end.

Arlington’s Jackson Trotter looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A boys state basketball game against Garfield on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington’s Jackson Trotter looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A boys state basketball game against Garfield on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Trotter hit a 3 with just over five minutes remaining in the third as Arlington chopped the Garfield lead down to 31-27. Falor drilled a 3 at the 3:30 mark to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 32-31 and added another trey with less than a minute left to give Arlington a 37-33 advantage.

In the fourth, the two teams traded opportunities with the lead.

Smiley scored the first three buckets of the fourth after the Bulldogs trailed 37-35 entering the final period.

Another 3 from Falor at the 4:06 mark capped a 9-0 Arlington run, putting the Eagles in front 46-41 and triggering a Garfield timeout.

Two 3s from Garfield guard Marcel Jones kept the Bulldogs in it late in the fourth as they fought back for a 51-48 lead in the final seconds.

After Martin fouled out, junior Jake Willis drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 51 to force overtime.

Arlington’s Jake Willis reacts to hitting a three-point shot to tie up the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the 3A boys state basketball game against Garfield on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The teams traded buckets in overtime and Garfield pulled ahead 60-58 on Jamari Harris’ putback in the final moments. The Eagles had a chance on the last possession to either tie or take the lead, but were not able to get an attempt off.

“Leyton going out with the fifth foul hurt us, but our guys didn’t miss a beat,” Brown said. “I’m just so proud of everything they did today. I know most people didn’t give us much of a chance heading into the game and not much of a chance after the first quarter.

“We just battled and hung in there. … These guys have hearts of champions, they’re warriors.”

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