Arlington, Lake Stevens boys hoops pull off overtime upsets

Arlington hit a last-second 3 to hand Stanwood its first league loss and Lake Stevens stunned Mariner.

The Arlington and Lake Stevens high school boys basketball teams both pulled off overtime upsets Friday night that impacted their respective league-title races. Here’s a recap of what went down:

Arlington 64, Stanwood 63 (OT)

Ethan Martin drilled a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime as the visiting Eagles rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to hand archrival Stanwood its first loss in Wesco 3A/2A play.

Martin, a sophomore, also hit a pivotal 3-pointer and free throws late in regulation and finished with a team-high 21 points to help Arlington (10-7, 6-5 Wesco 3A/2A) snap the Spartans’ 13-game win streak. Stanwood’s loss left Marysville Pilchuck as the only remaining unbeaten in conference play.

The Eagles’ comeback victory was the opposite of what transpired Wednesday night, when they blew a 17-point third-quarter lead against Marysville Pilchuck.

“We felt pretty confident after we played against Marysville on Wednesday,” Arlington coach Nick Brown said. “We felt like we did pretty well and held our own against them, and we knew we could play with the best of the best. We gave it our best shot, and I was so proud of our guys’ resiliency. They just never gave up. They just never backed down.”

Playing in front of a jam-packed crowd, Stanwood (14-3, 10-1) built a 37-23 third-quarter lead. But the Eagles stormed back with a 9-0 run, slicing the deficit to five points.

Then after trailing 57-51 with less than two minutes left in regulation, Arlington rallied with a pair of big plays from Martin. The sophomore guard hit a corner 3-pointer and then was fouled on another 3-point attempt, sending him to the free-throw line with 1:11 remaining. Martin hit all three free throws to tie the game and ultimately force overtime.

“We just really believed in each other and played for each other,” Brown said. “… To be honest, I think everyone counted us out more than a few times, and we just never went away.”

The Eagles trailed 63-59 with 40 seconds to play in overtime, but rallied yet again.

Will Abram threw down a dunk to make it a two-point game and Stanwood missed a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Martin’s game-winner.

Martin dribbled up the court and sank a contested stepback 3-pointer in the closing seconds, sending Arlington’s players and fans into pandemonium.

“He’s just a competitive kid,” Brown said. “He is the nicest young man, but he’s not afraid of anything and his blood is ice-cold. … He’s one of those kind of autopilot (players) where I can just say ‘go.’ I called a play at the end of the game to get the shot for him, but he kind of took it his own way and found a shot at the right time and nailed it. It was beautiful.”

Abram added 12 points for the Eagles — including several dunks — and teammate Joseph Schmidt scored 11. It was the fifth win in seven games for Arlington, which graduated a slew of talent from last year’s state regional team.

“It’s been really rewarding to watch the results as they’re starting to come into their own and mature and become better and better,” Brown said. “(In this game), it kind of all came together.”

Jake Cleary led Stanwood with 22 points. Cort Roberson added 14 points and Cam Everett scored 13 for the Spartans.

“It was just a crazy, crazy game,” Brown said. “I’ve had probably seven to eight people make the comment (that) it’s the best high school basketball game they’ve ever seen. Now I don’t know if that’s the case, … but the intensity was definitely one of the best I’ve seen.”

Lake Stevens 76, Mariner 74 (OT)

Jaxson Smith drained six 3-pointers and scored 20 points to lead the Vikings to an overtime road upset of second-place Mariner in a Wesco 4A clash.

Lake Stevens (5-12, 4-7 Wesco 4A) lost to Mariner by 24 points in the teams’ Jan. 8 meeting, but the Vikings have improved their play of late. After a 1-9 start to the season, Lake Stevens has won four of its past seven games.

“It’s validation for the process that we have owned this second half of the year,” Vikings coach Mark Hein said. “We really had a rough December. … We have just made a commitment to really focusing on playing good basketball and getting better. It really feels good right now to see these guys have success lately.”

Mariner (14-3, 9-2) led by six points with less than two minutes left in regulation, but Joe Gonzales completed a Lake Stevens rally by driving to the rim for a game-tying layup with 19 seconds remaining. The Vikings then got a defensive stop to force overtime.

In the extra period, freshman Tyson Eyman scored a transition basket with less than two minutes remaining to put Lake Stevens in front.

Smith was one of four scorers in double figures for the Vikings, who hit 10 3-pointers. DeShawn McFerrin and Eyman each added 14 points and Gonzales had 13.

“A lot of our problems early on in the year were we were kind of one-dimensional,” Hein said. “DeShawn is having a huge year, but there were many games where he was our only guy in double figures. And it’s really kind of taken us to that next level as a team (having) more and more guys step up and play with confidence.”

Tony MacArthur led Mariner with 20 points and Simon Fanuel and Jalen Giles added 14 points apiece.

The Marauders entered the week with a 13-1 record but have lost two of their past three games, including a loss to unbeaten Glacier Peak on Monday after blowing a 15-point third-quarter lead. Mariner now trails the first-place Grizzlies by two games in the Wesco 4A standings, with three conference games remaining for both teams.

Lake Stevens has a one-game lead over Monroe for the sixth and final Wesco 4A postseason berth.

“Any league game is a big deal,” Hein said. “All of them are important, … but I think this one was particularly meaningful just being on the road against a team that we really respect and a team that’s performing at a high level this year. From that standpoint, it was a huge confidence-builder for our guys.”

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