History in the Making: Facing Their Toughest Competition Yet, The Arlington Eagles Remain Confident and Ready to Win

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WORDS THAT DESCRIBE the 2015-2016 Arlington Eagles’ girls basketball team: Strong. Undefeated. Family.

One word that describes the team as they head into Saturday’s 3A District tournament: Confident.

The Arlington Eagles have played some of the best basketball in all of Wesco throughout the season. Going an impressive 22-0 has treated them well; advancing to the 3A District tournament this Saturday. Their opponent? Only the topped ranked team in the state, the undefeated Lynwood Royals.

To say that the game has been highly anticipated for weeks–even months–would be an understatement.

To say that the Eagles are ready for the Royals would be an even bigger understatement.

Senior Jayla Russ drives to the basket against Everett on February 5th.

Hannah Martian
Senior Jayla Russ drives to the basket against Everett on February 5th.

 

WHEN THE EAGLES took the court for the first time this season on November 30th, they expected to win. It didn’t matter who they were playing, because that would simply be their mentality all season: Win.

And win they did: In that game, they beat Meadowdale by a whopping forty points. In the game after they beat Monroe by nine, they bested the soon-to-be Wesco 4A champion Snohomish Panthers 61-47.

The Eagles continued to role throughout the season, sweeping each divisional opponent and handily defeating non-divison opponents. Lake Stevens, Shorecrest, Glacier Peak and Sehome–to name a few–all fell to the Eagles.

The Eagles won by double digits in 16 of their 20 games.

They racked up 1,311 points over the course of the season.

On January 8th, they beat Marysville-Pilchuck by 70 points, in Marysville.

And the Arlington Eagles were just getting started–they were headed for the postseason.

 

ARLINGTON’S FIRST POSTSEASON hurdle came in the shape of the Shorewood Thunderbirds, a team that boasted a 12-9 record. But the Thunderbirds were in for quite the challenge themselves: Facing an Arlington team, at home, that had beaten them by fourteen points back in January. Even with an tough showing by Shorewood, the Eagles were able to pull away by a final score of 56-40–a 16 point win for Arlington.

Next, it was onto Shorecrest, where the Eagles would play the Glacier Peak Grizzlies. This was no cake-walk for the Eagles: In the past, Glacier Peak has been a thorn in Arlington’s side. Even with a narrow three-point win over the Grizzles in December, the Eagles suffered two of their four overall loses to Glacier Peak last season, including a devastating playoff loss exactly one year prior. The Eagles started off shaky, but rallied throughout the game for a come-behind-victory for the ages, beating Glacier Peak 52-45.

And then it was a waiting game. Would the Eagles play the Stanwood Spartans, who they had already beaten twice–by double-digits on both occasions—or the top-ranked Lynwood Royals?

About 90 minutes later, Lynwood beat Stanwood 63-24.

At first glance, senior Sevi Bielser isn’t one of the most intimidating players on the floor…But when you take a look at the way she’s played the past two games, you may just realize that Sevi Bielser is the kind of player who can make or break a team–the most intimidating kind of player that there is.”

— Hannah Martian

 

AT FIRST GLANCE, senior Sevi Bielser isn’t one of the most intimidating players on the floor.

At 5’4, Bielser is the second-shortest player on the Eagles’ roster. She’s not the kind of player to backtalk the refs or her opponents. She is the kind of player to cheer on her teammates from the start of warm ups all the way until she leaves the floor.

But when you take a look at the way she’s played the past two games, you may just realize that Sevi Bielser is the kind of player who can make or break a team–the most intimidating kind of player that there is.

Bielser has put up staggering numbers in her past two games, including 35 points. She’s readily becoming Arlington’s best threat from beyond the three-point line, and will be one of Arlington’s biggest weapons when the game’s on the line.

 

 

 

Sevi Bielser ('16) prepares to shoot a three-pointer during Arlington's victory over Shorewood.

Hannah Martian
Sevi Bielser (’16) prepares to shoot a three-pointer during Arlington’s victory over Shorewood.

 

STANDING BESIDE BIELSER are a plethora of other seniors who have strengths all their own. Jayla Russ has lead Arlington in scoring this season with 164 points, averaging just about 12 points per game. Russ, the tallest player for the Eagles at 6’0, has the ability to distract the opposition and allow point guards to pass the ball around effectively. Gracie Castaneda and Serafina Balderas offer Arlington speed and shooting ability that will be essential to future victories. Sarah Shortt and Olivia Larson are two of the most physical players on the Eagles’ squad, frequently flying out of bounds and skidding across the hardwood in order to garner possession. Emma Janousek is a unique player with all around abilities; ranging from shooting to her leadership skills, she’s the heart of this Arlington team. Selena Gutierrez has also helped the Eagles off the bench on multiple occasions. Underclassmen Peyton Brown (’18), Abby Anderson (’17), and Tahlia Miears (’17) have strengths all their own, and offer the Eagles good flexibility when it comes to pulling players off the bench.

 

Olivia Larson ('16) dribbles around a Stanwood defender during a game on February 3rd.

Hannah Martian
Olivia Larson (’16) dribbles around a Stanwood defender during a game on February 3rd.

 

THE ARLINGTON EAGLES are the underdogs heading into Saturday’s championship game–and that’s just the way they like it.

This team doesn’t stop. They don’t do anything but hustle. Stacked with excellent players who don’t quit, the Arlington Eagles are prepared to make history this Saturday.

This team is confident. This team is ready. But more then anything, this team is good–and they’re ready to show you just how good they truly are.

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