STANWOOD — The Stanwood girls basketball team certainly didn’t get caught looking ahead to a possible rematch with Wesco 3A champion Snohomish.
The Spartans sprinted out of the gates for 22 first-quarter points and dismantled Arlington with a stifling defensive performance, routing the visiting Eagles 70-37 in a 3A District 1 quarterfinal Friday night in front of a rocking crowd at Stanwood High School.
The victory sets up a winner-to-state district semifinal Tuesday between Stanwood and Snohomish, which beat the Spartans 61-39 on Jan. 24.
“That’s definitely a game that everyone wanted to be able to get again,” Stanwood junior Madison Chisman said.
The Spartans (14-6) wasted little time Friday night making the rematch a reality.
Stanwood was firing on all cylinders from the opening tip, racing to an early 7-0 lead and then rattling off 13 straight points later in the first quarter to build a commanding 22-6 advantage.
The avalanche of points began with the Spartans’ lockdown man-to-man defense, which pressured Arlington (12-9) into numerous turnovers. Those led to fast-break opportunities for Stanwood’s array of talented athletes, who thrive in the open court.
“We wanted to push the ball,” Spartans coach Dennis Kloke said. “We wanted an up-and-down game, because we think we have some advantage on that with the kids that we have.”
It was smooth sailing from there for Stanwood, which held Arlington scoreless for more than six minutes in the second quarter. The Spartans led 32-13 at halftime and 50-19 after three quarters before Kloke emptied the bench early in the fourth.
Stanwood held the Eagles to their third-lowest point total of the season.
“I was really, really pleased with how willing they were to play (our) man-to-man defense,” Kloke said. “We took away a lot of the things that they wanted to run. … (It was) just basic, fundamental man-to-man principles that kept the ball on the perimeter.”
Chisman scored 14 of her team-high 19 points in the first half and senior Ashley Alter, a Seattle Pacific University signee, added 14 points for the Spartans.
Stanwood senior Jillian Heichel chipped in nine points and versatile senior forward Kaitlin Larson scored eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter.
Larson also provided a highlight-reel sequence on defense, blocking Arlington senior Kelsey Mellick twice in the final minute of the first half. Larson swatted Mellick’s fast-break lay-in attempt out of bounds, then blocked her again just moments later to send the crowd into a frenzy.
“They’re really good,” Arlington coach Joe Marsh said of the Spartans, who reached the 3A state quarterfinals last season. “We knew coming into this gym was going to be a tough one tonight. We turned the ball over and they put it on us.
“And once you dig a hole against a team like that, it’s really, really hard to get out of it. Credit to them. They played great basketball tonight.”
Arlington freshman Hailey Hiatt scored all of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter. Mellick added 10 points for the Eagles, who will face Meadowdale in an elimination game Tuesday.
“The beauty of double-elimination is we get to turn around and prepare to go again Tuesday night,” Marsh said. “And that’s what we’re going to do. We still have life.”