ARLINGTON — You live by the 3-pointer, you die by the 3-pointer — or so the basketball adage goes.
So far, Arlington has made a pretty nice living behind the arc.
The Eagles made 13 threes, including six during a decisive 22-3 run over the course of the third quarter, as top-seeded Arlington out-shot No. 5 Edmonds-Woodway, 55-38, in a Northwest District girls basketball game Friday. Arlington clinched a berth into the state regional round for the first time since 2016.
“It’s something that we do,” Arlington head coach Joe Marsh said of his team’s outside shooting ability. “We’re undersized, we don’t have a lot of post presence offensively and we work on (shooting) everyday. We tell the kids, ‘If you have an open look, we want you to shoot it with confidence’ and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Warriors were making shots at a similar pace to the Eagles in the first half, as each team made six 3-pointers. Edmonds-Woodway led 26-20 at the intermission.
“We weren’t surprised by that. It’s a great shooting team,” Marsh said. “We said before the game that we might have to weather a storm early. They always come out strong.”
Arlington’s Hailey Hiatt opened the second half with a mid-range jumper, Josie Stupey followed with a 3-pointer and Sierra Scheppele drilled a three from the top of the key to erase the Warriors’ lead over the course of two minutes.
That momentum woke the Eagles up on both offense and defense and ignited a 35-12 run to end the game.
“Our defense in the second half was outstanding, I think that was the difference for us,” Marsh said. “Our defense and our pressure kind of wore them down.”
“First half, we were a little bit nervous,” Scheppele added. “We came out and we were ready to start the half and just come out with a lot of intensity.”
Scheppele was instrumental in the Eagles’ dominant third stanza. The 5-foot-4 junior guard, the eldest member of Arlington’s starting lineup, was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the period.
“She’s one of the best shooters around,” Marsh said of Scheppele, who finished 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and scored 16 points. “She’s done it for us all year long. I think she was a little nervous in the first half, but she came out in the second half ready to go. She wasn’t going to be shut out. Great job from her.”
The Eagles as a whole were 13-of-30 from 3-point range.
“I don’t know if it’s what went wrong, it’s what went right for them,” Edmonds-Woodway head coach Jon Rasmussen said. “We come out and throw up our first two 3-point shots, good looks, but they rattled out. I thought we lost a lot of confidence right there.
“They shot outstanding and they played really well. It’s hard to stop a team like that, but when I think when it started to go down, we kept going down. If a couple things happen differently to start the second half, then maybe it’s a bit different, but no excuses, Arlington is a great shooting team and we found that out tonight.”
Hiatt, a sophomore guard for Arlington, led all scorers with 18 points. She’s been trending upward lately, and at the perfect time, according to Marsh.
“Hailey is so versatile,” Marsh said. “She can do so many things for us. She can score, she handles the ball. I’ll tell you what, the last couple of weeks she’s really come on strong and at the perfect time. We really needed it from her.”
Hiatt is part of a strong class of sophomores that helped the Eagles capture a share of the Wesco 3A title and put Arlington back in the state regional round.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” Marsh said. “We’re really young and I knew we had a chance to be pretty good. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to win a league championship and get to this point, but I’ll tell you what, these kids have gotten better and better every week. … that’s all we can ask for. We’re just excited now to go get these kids some (state) experience.”
Edmonds-Woodway, the Wesco 3A champion last year, has a chance to punch its ticket to state with a win Saturday. The Warriors play Ferndale in a loser-out, winner-to-state matchup at 11 a.m. at Everett Community College.
“We have to forget this game, it’s over,” Rasmussen said. “There’s a quick game coming up tomorrow.”
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