ARLINGTON PULLS AWAY, BEATS RIVAL STANWOOD
Arlington got all it could handle Saturday night from archrival Stanwood, which hung with the Wesco 3A/2A favorites for 28-plus minutes.
But with the game teetering in the balance down the stretch, Jenna Villa provided the separating burst the Eagles needed.
The versatile 6-foot-2 junior guard drained a 3-pointer and converted a perfectly executed Euro step layup on back-to-back possessions, igniting a late 10-0 run to help Arlington pull away for a 57-47 win.
“It’s really a luxury to have a player of her kind of skill,” Eagles coach Joe Marsh said. “We have all the confidence in the world in her. … We know good things are gonna happen when the ball is in her hands.”
It was a pivotal win for Arlington (5-1, 3-0 Wesco 3A/2A), which dispatched one of its top potential challengers for the league title. And it was a highly encouraging performance for Stanwood (5-2, 3-1), which showed it can play toe to toe with a team considered to be among the best Class 3A squads in the state.
“Stanwood did a really good job tonight,” Marsh said. “It’s always a battle between these two teams, so I’m just really proud of the kids for gutting it out in that second half. … This is an important win for us against one of the top teams in the league.”
Like many local teams, Arlington and Stanwood were both battling the effects of long layoffs. Numerous games around the area have been canceled in recent weeks due to COVID-19 protocols. Saturday marked Stanwood’s first game in 17 days and Arlington’s second game in 24 days.
Arlington went more than three weeks between games prior to Friday night, when it faced 4A state title contender Tahoma in a non-league contest that Marsh scheduled the day before. The Eagles suffered their first loss of the season, falling 81-64 in a fast-paced affair.
“I really would’ve loved to play (Tahoma) when we hadn’t come off a three-week layoff, because they are really, really good,” Marsh said. “… We should be in midseason condition right now, and we’re not.
“But that game’s a win-win for us,” he added. “We got to play against a state-caliber team and we got to play. So I’m happy about that.”
LAKE STEVENS CLOBBERS GLACIER PEAK
Lake Stevens entered this season as the clear-cut favorite in the new four-team Wesco 4A. And the Vikings certainly affirmed that notion in their league opener, clobbering two-time defending Wesco 4A champion Glacier Peak 70-32 on Saturday night.
With Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak spending the past four full-length seasons jostling for Wesco 4A supremacy, it certainly was strange to see a 38-point drubbing in this highly competitive rivalry. But the blowout seems indicative of where these two programs are at this season.
Lake Stevens (7-1, 1-0 Wesco 4A) is expected to be among the top 4A teams in the state, led by the talented senior quartet of West Virginia State University-bound guard Baylor Thomas, guard Chloe Pattison and Eastern Washington University-bound posts Camille Jentzsch and Cori Wilcox.
With those four seniors leading the way, the Vikings are averaging 65.5 points per game and have picked up good non-league wins over 4A Olympia, 3A Auburn and 2A Port Angeles. Their lone loss was to fellow 4A state contender Emerald Ridge.
Meanwhile, Glacier Peak (3-4, 0-1) is in a bit of a transition phase after graduating a slew of standouts from last spring’s ultra-talented team.
SNOHOMISH BEATS MURPHY IN WESCO 3A/2A BATTLE
Snohomish continues to look like Arlington’s biggest threat in Wesco 3A/2A. In their first game in nearly three weeks, the Panthers earned a 49-39 win over a good Archbishop Murphy team last Thursday night.
Four-year starting guard Ella Gallatin had another big performance, scoring 20 points to lead Snohomish (6-1, 3-0 Wesco 3A/2A). The Eastern Washington University signee is averaging 21.1 points per contest, including a season-high 34 points in a win over Kamiak last month. She also hit a game-winner at the buzzer in the Panthers’ season-opening victory over 1A state powerhouse Lynden Christian.
Snohomish has a massive three-game stretch coming up later this month. The Panthers face Wesco 3A/2A contender Stanwood on Jan. 18, Wesco 4A favorite Lake Stevens in a non-league clash on Jan. 20 and Wesco 3A/2A favorite Arlington on Jan. 24.
TERRACE CONTINUES PROGRAM TURNAROUND
Mountlake Terrace took a big step forward last spring. After going 17-104 over the previous six seasons, the Hawks went 6-3 during the abbreviated spring slate and earned their most wins in a season since 2013-14.
And this winter, they’ve continued their turnaround under third-year coach Nick Starks. Mountlake Terrace (7-1, 2-1 Wesco 3A/2A) has won seven of its first eight games, including a pair of non-league victories over Wesco 4A teams last week. The Hawks beat Kamiak 79-74 last Tuesday and Jackson 65-56 last Friday.
Mountlake Terrace did get blown out in its lone loss, falling 65-23 to Wesco 3A/2A favorite Arlington last month. But the Hawks have another chance to compete against one of the league’s top teams this Friday, when they’re slated to face Snohomish.
SULTAN OFF TO RED-HOT START
Sultan is rolling through the Emerald Sound Conference’s Coho Division, the lower of the conference’s two competitively balanced tiers.
The unbeaten Turks (7-0, 6-0 Coho Division) have outscored opponents by 28.1 points per game and have won every contest by at least 16 points. Among the eight teams in the Coho Division, they are the only remaining unbeaten in league play. And there’s clearly a massive gap between Sultan and the rest of the division, as evidenced by the Turks’ 53-15 rout of second-place South Whidbey last month.
Sultan is led by senior guard and reigning Coho Division player of the year Grace Trichler, who is averaging 18.3 points per game. And she’s surrounded by a strong group of freshmen who provide the bulk of the team’s remaining scoring.
After a breakthrough 10-4 campaign last spring — which marked the program’s first winning season in more than a decade — the Turks have taken another step forward this winter.