TACOMA — The Arlington girls basketball team has been able to put up points in bunches this season behind its high-powered perimeter attack. But Friday night at the Tacoma Dome, the shots weren’t falling for the Eagles.
Arlington shot just 12 of 43 from the field, including 4 of 22 from 3-point range, as Garfield used its blend of size and athleticism to smother the Eagles’ shooters and the Bulldogs advanced to the Class 3A state-title game with a 53-36 victory in the semifinals of the Hardwood Classic.
“That was rough. It was rough all the way around,” Arlington coach Joe Marsh said. “Listen, credit to Garfield. That’s just a really, really good team. They’re strong. They’re big. They’re athletic. They’re skilled. They’ve got everything you need. There’s no shame losing to a team like that. They’re better than us, and we’ve said all along, if we’re gonna lose, it’s gonna be because somebody is better than us. That’s what happened tonight. They were better than us. It’s not because we gave a game away or we made too many mistakes. It’s because they were better, and credit to them.”
Garfield led from wire to wire after scoring the game’s first five points and broke things open in the third quarter while holding Arlington to just three points in the period to take a 45-27 advantage.
The game stayed close in the opening half, with Arlington making a number of runs at Garfield’s lead. But each Eagles’ run was met with a burst from the Bulldogs, who shot 12 of 23 from the field in the first half and never led by less than two points after Kareyna Taylor’s bucket near the end of the first quarter.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Marsh said. “You know we had a couple of moments here and there, but we just couldn’t put it together.”
University of Michigan-signee Meghan Fiso led Garfield (22-7) with a game-high 17 points, Sahcari Davis chipped in 14 and Taylor added 12.
Josie Stupey’s nine points led Arlington (23-3) and Hailey Hiatt tacked on six.
The Eagles scored a season-low 36 points in their first loss of the calender year.
“We took their 3-point shot away,” Garfield coach Marvin Hall said. “We got them off the 3-point line a lot. We knew that they like to get a lot of shots off from their and they’re great shooters.”
Arlington locked down University of California-signee Dalayah Daniels. Ranked as the 14th overall recruit in the country for the Class of 2020 by ESPN.com, Daniels had as many points (three) as she did fouls and turned the ball over five times in the first half. She finished with four points, 12 rebounds and six turnovers.
The lack of impact from Daniels didn’t deter the Bulldogs. Davis and Taylor provided Garfield with stellar guard play throughout the night. The pair sparked the Bulldogs early, combining for 20 first-half points.
The Bulldogs face No. 6 seed Lake Washington in the title game at 9 p.m. Saturday.
The Eagles fall to a third-place game at 1 p.m. versus top-seeded Eastside Catholic.
“No shame losing to that team,” Marsh said. “Clearly we wanted to play better and perform better on the big stage, and that one hurts, but we’ve had a great run and we’re not done here yet. We get to play for a trophy. We get to play for a third-place trophy tomorrow. … I’m really proud of these kids. They’re feeling the pain, and I understand that. But we’re not done yet.
“They’re playing basketball on the last day in the state of Washington. Most teams are sitting at home not doing that.”