Arlington senior Peyton Brown receives a pass during practice on Nov. 16, 2017, at Arlington High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Arlington senior Peyton Brown receives a pass during practice on Nov. 16, 2017, at Arlington High School. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Basketball is in the blood of this Arlington senior

Eagles leader Peyton Brown has been hanging around the Arlington gym since she was 5.

Related: 5 storylines to watch this prep girls basketball season

Peyton Brown was introduced to basketball at a young age. She immediately became attached to it, and never gave it a chance to let her go.

Brown’s father, Nick, is the head coach of the Arlington High School boys basketball team. He began bringing his daughter to his squad’s practice sessions when she was 5 years old. As a middle-schooler, she became a regular at the Eagles’ girls team’s practices after Joe Marsh, who had spent five seasons as an assistant coach for Brown, took over the squad.

“Basketball has always been a part of my life,” Peyton said. “I don’t know any different. It’s the (activity) that I have the most fun in, and — I say this in the most humble way possible — it’s what I’m best at.”

“It feels like she’s been in the program for more than four years,” Marsh said. “She’s always been around. And when she was a kid, it’s not like she was just sitting (on the bench at our practices) as a fan. Well, there was an element of that, but she’s a student of the game, and I think that started at a young age for her. Basketball is in her blood.”

Once she got to the high school level, it didn’t take long for Brown to solidify her reputation as an accurate outside shooter. She made nine 3-pointers in one game during her freshman year. But she’s worked to become more of an all-around player.

“This year I’d like to become more versatile,” said Brown, a combo guard. “I’ve been known as a shooter, but I’d like to get to the rim a bit more. I’d also like to step up defensively.

“But I know that I’m the one with the most experience, the one that the other girls will look to. I’m excited for that and embrace it.”

Brown averaged 13 points per game last season despite drawing close attention from opponents’ best defenders.

“I’m biased, but I think she’s one of the best shooters in the state,” Marsh said. “She’ll take shots from NBA range, and she doesn’t struggle with it. It’s easy for her. For her, shooting is where it starts. That’s the skill that stands out.”

And it’s the skill that will most likely help her to see early playing time at the college level. Brown signed a letter of intent earlier this month to continue her career at Central Washington University.

The Wildcats’ first-year coach, Randi Richardson-Thornley, played at Arlington and later served as an assistant coach for Marsh.

“Growing up, playing college ball was always a dream, but I didn’t know how serious that dream was,” Brown said. “Last year, it became more serious. Randi recruited me, and once that connection grew, I realized I wanted to play for her, and I didn’t want my career to be over (after this season).”

Brown is considering a career in education or physical therapy/sports medicine.

“Dawn Bostic, my physical therapist, has been (an inspiration). She always makes sure I’m healthy. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I’d like to be able to (help) athletes deal with injuries like she does,” said Brown, who works at Kafe Neo Woodstone Taverna in Arlington. “I’d like to study education and be a teacher/coach like my dad. I’m not quite sure what I want to teach, but I know I’d like to teach at the high school level.

“Sports are important to me, a huge part of my life, and if possible I’d like to keep them as part of my life for as long as possible.”

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