SHORELINE — The Arlington girls basketball team entered Saturday with two chances to reach the state quarterfinals.
But the Eagles played with the defensive intensity of a loser-out game.
No. 3 seed Arlington allowed just seven first-half points and rode its smothering defense to a 56-32 win over No. 6 seed Lake Washington in a Class 3A state regional Saturday at Shorewood High School.
“That was just a great effort today,” Eagles coach Joe Marsh said. “Our defense was outstanding.”
With the victory, Arlington (22-2) earned a first-round bye for next week’s Hardwood Classic and will play a state quarterfinal game Thursday night in the Tacoma Dome. It will be the Eagles’ first state quarterfinal appearance since a run of four consecutive quarterfinal trips from 2013 to 2016.
Arlington reached the Hardwood Classic last season, but fell in a first-round, loser-out matchup. The Eagles wanted to avoid the Wednesday elimination round this time.
“We weren’t even messing around with two chances,” Marsh said. “We wanted to come in and take care of business today and get to that quarterfinal.
“They got a little taste last year and some disappointment on Wednesday, so we’ve been talking about this all along,” he added. “Let’s get to the quarterfinal, and then let’s do it the (easier) way.”
Arlington held two-time defending KingCo 3A/2A champion Lake Washington (19-6) to just 13 points through the first three quarters. The Kangaroos entered the day averaging 53.7 points per contest.
Lake Washington had a definite interior size advantage with 6-foot-4 sophomore Elise Hani, who averages a double-double per game. But the Eagles held the standout forward — who battled foul trouble — scoreless until the fourth quarter and controlled the rebounding battle for much of the contest.
“Just team effort,” Marsh said. “We don’t have one kid who can go guard those kids, so we have to really do a good job (as a team). We front everything, and then we have to make sure our help side is there. Our effort was outstanding.”
Arlington held Lake Washington scoreless for the game’s first five minutes while building an early 9-0 lead. The Eagles limited the Kangaroos to just two made field goals in the first half and led 25-7 at the break.
Arlington sophomore Keira Marsh made a basket in the closing seconds of the third quarter to stretch the margin to 43-13 before the Eagles played their reserves for most of the final period.
Keira Marsh scored a team-high 17 points and junior Hailey Hiatt added 13 for Arlington, which extended its win streak to 17 games. The Eagles made seven 3-pointers, including four that were banked in off the backboard.
Rosa Smith led Lake Washington with 13 points. The Kangaroos, just two years removed from back-to-back two-win seasons, were making their second consecutive state regional appearance. Lake Washington will play a first-round, loser-out Hardwood Classic game Wednesday afternoon.