Arlington’s Keira Marsh (center) drives for a layup with Meadowdale’s Alicia Morrison (3) trailing Friday evening at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood. The Eagles won 61-40. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Arlington’s Keira Marsh (center) drives for a layup with Meadowdale’s Alicia Morrison (3) trailing Friday evening at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood. The Eagles won 61-40. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

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Arlington girls ride defense to win over Meadowdale

The Eagles’ pressure defense fuels a 22-2 run in the second quarter en route to a 61-40 Wesco 3A win.

LYNNWOOD — The Arlington Eagles had a long two-week holiday break to stew over their last game — a disappointing double-digit loss to Shorecrest.

Arlington coach Joe Marsh admitted he was concerned about his Eagles showing rust after returning from a 14-day hiatus, but after a quarter and a half into a critical early season league matchup against Meadowdale, Arlington quickly shed its winter lethargy.

“The Shorecrest game was not a good one for us, especially defensively,” Marsh said, “and that is something we really wanted to focus on tonight.”

Arlington’s defense was suffocating during the final four minutes of the second quarter, keying a scoring run that essentially put the game out of reach by halftime.

Eagles 6-foot-1 freshman guard Jenna Villa, sophomore Keira Marsh and junior Hailey Hiatt scored in double figures, helping Arlington earn a 61-40 Wesco 3A win on Friday night at Meadowdale High School.

Villa scored a game-high 20 points, which came during the first three quarters. She also recorded five steals. Keira Marsh added 18, and Hiatt, returning after missing several games due to an illness, contributed 11 points.

“Don’t let us get going,” said Hiatt when asked about Arlington’s strong shooting night. “That’s all I’m going to say. One of us has a bad shooting night, the next one has a good one. Everybody on this team can shoot. It’s crazy sometimes when we are all on the same page.”

Arlington (6-2, 2-1 Wesc0 3A) finished with 10 3-pointers, including six during a wild second-quarter scoring run.

The Eagles and Mavericks (5-3, 1-1) were tied at 16-16 with 3:30 to play in the second period before Arlington ended the quarter on a 22-2 run.

Hiatt started the shooting clinic with a 3, and Villa followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to give Arlington a 25-16 edge at 2:15 in the second. The Eagles’ pressure defense caused one Meadowdale turnover after another, which led to plenty of Arlington buckets.

Keira Marsh converted a three-point play to give the Eagles a 28-16 lead before a layup from Villa, a triple from Allison DeBerry and free throws from Keira Marsh pushed Arlington’s advantage to 35-18. Fittingly, the Eagles’ sophomore guard drilled a 3 just inside the half-court line as time expired, giving Arlington a 38-18 lead at the break.

“It’s defense,” Joe Marsh said. “We keep talking about picking up the intensity and picking up the pace of the game. It’s the way we like to play and the way we play well. That’s what we did in that second quarter. We made a really nice run, defensively, made some steals and got some easy layups, and it just changes the game.”

Villa led the second-quarter spurt with nine points, flashing her ability to play inside and shoot from 3 while also giving great minutes on the defensive end.

“She had a great game for us tonight,” Joe Marsh said of Villa. “She is such a weapon offensively, and then she is long on defense. It’s been a process with her, obviously. She’s a freshman. But she made a great run for us tonight. She came out ready to go tonight, and I was really happy about that. She makes us a lot tougher when she plays like that.”

Meadowdale never recovered from the 20-point halftime deficit.

Fatoumata Jaiteh led the Mavs with 12 points, and sophomore Silja Knutsen came off the bench in the fourth quarter to score seven. Ten different Meadowdale players scored, but the Mavericks never solved Arlington’s pressure defense.

The Eagles’ largest lead was 57-26, which came late in the third quarter. Meadowdale did hold Arlington to just four fourth-quarter points.

For as well as Arlington played, they were without starting senior guard Sierra Scheppele, who was out with an illness.

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