SHORELINE — Every practice the Arlington girls basketball team runs through game situational plays.
When Eagles coach Joe Marsh needed to draw up some magic on his whiteboard during a timeout with the game tied and 6 seconds to play Friday, he called what Arlington knew best.
In-bounding under her basket, Eagles guard Sierra Scheppele ran from the baseline up the free throw line to set a screen for teammate Jordan Bartlow. As soon as Scheppele’s two feet landed on her jump stop, she bolted to the other end of the court, leaving a Shorecrest defender in her wake. Peyton Brown cocked back her right arm and heaved a pass down to the other end. Scheppele controlled it in stride and smoothly laid the ball off the glass and in with 1.5 seconds remaining.
“It probably wasn’t perfect, but we got what we needed,” Marsh said. “It was an unbelievable play. Great throw and catch. The kid made the layup to do it. What more can you say? It’s about kids making plays, right?”
Shorecrest’s following full-court desperation heave went awry, and Arlington pulled of a dramatic 48-46 Wesco 3A win over the Scots at Shorecrest High School.
“It was a lot of pressure, but it’s (like) a playoff game, and we had to win it,” said Scheppele of her game winner. “We run the play every day in practice, so we were pretty confident.”
The bucket capped an impressive comeback in which Arlington (11-8, 8-3 Wesco 3A) rallied to overcome trailing by six points four separate times during the fourth quarter.
Kelsey Mellick finished with a team-high 16 points, Scheppele added 10 and Brown added nine points to go with her team-best six steals in what was a physical, back-and-forth contest.
The Eagles’ high-intensity full-court defense flustered Shorecrest (13-6, 8-3) all night, forcing 30 turnovers.
The pressure defense allowed Arlington to build a 20-9 lead with 5:40 to play in the second quarter. But suddenly, the Eagles’ offense flatlined, and the Scots took advantage.
Shorecrest finished the half on a 13-0 run to take a 22-20 lead into the break. Julia Strand, who led the Scots with 16 points, five boards and four steals, scored five of the 13.
But the scoring streak didn’t end there. Shorecrest added the first seven points of the second half to complete a 20-0 run that spanned nearly a quarter.
Then Arlington’s defense again came alive.
“They are long, and we are not, so that’s the thing we do,” said Marsh of his team’s in-your-face defense. “We got to get up and pressure people, turn it up and make them play the way they don’t want to play, and I thought we did a nice job of that.”
The Eagles used a 10-2 run to take 32-31 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. But a basket from Shorecrest guard Kira Wood, who finished with nine points, and five straight points from Strand put the Scots back in front with 6:45 to go.
Brown tied the game at 46-46 with a pair of free throws with 54 seconds left. Missed shots by both teams on their respective following possessions gave Shorecrest the ball under its basket with less than 10 seconds to play. A full-court pass that went off the fingertips of Strand and out of bounds set up Arlington’s heroics.
The Scots, who had rallied from down 11 early, were left stunned.
“They go your way sometimes, and sometimes they don’t,” Shorecrest coach Carlos Humphrey said. “Quite honestly, we kind of had an idea that play was coming. I didn’t see the play exactly, but it seemed we had two players mis-communicate on a switch. One player slipped out and got away.”