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Arlington ends Evergreen’s season at 3A regional play-in

Eagles lead start to finish, end Plainsmen’s season at 11-14

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 22, 2022, 9:02pm

ARLINGTON — The playoff run for Evergreen’s boys basketball team ended Tuesday night — a playoff ride that might’ve been a surprise to everyone but the Plainsmen.

The road ended in a 73-53 loss to Arlington of Snohomish County in a WIAA 3A regional play-in game at Arlington High School.

New this year for Class 3A is a 20-team format, meaning four play-in games were contested Tuesday to qualify for the round of 16 this weekend.

Arlington (18-5), champions of the 3A/2A Wesco, advances to face Ferris of Spokane this weekend, while Evergreen’s season ends at 11-14.

But what a ride it was for the Plainsmen.

Over the past 10 days, the Plainsmen lived through controlled basketball chaos. Not just winning three loser-out bi-district games just to qualify for regionals as the 3A Greater St. Helens League’s third-place team, but the 1,296 roundup miles in doing so.

This after a nine-game losing skid earlier this season and a 3-11 record on Jan. 20.

The difference between who the Plainsmen were then versus what got them to 3A regionals is night and day, said senior Carmelo Stewart.

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“We’re a team now,” he said, “and I feel like earlier in the season, there was no chemistry.”

“Everybody as a group, we all matured,” added senior guard Juelz Mendoza.

Evergreen played catch-up the entire game against Arlington. It trailed by double-digits the opening minute of the second quarter, and never got within single digits after that.

Head coach Brett Henry said postgame what surprised Evergreen most about Arlington wasn’t sharp-shooting guard Ethan Martin, who finished with a game-high 35 points. It was how the Eagles moved offensively.

“They were faster and sharper than the film showed,” the coach said. “Our guys were flying around to the point where they had to keep passing it and you can only rotate so many times. And then they find 43 on the last rotation.”

For the record, No. 43 is Martin, who did most of his damage in the first half for Arlington, which led 37-21 at the break.

The 6-footer, who surpassed 1,000-career points earlier this season, went off for 26 first-half points on 9 of 12 shooting. His 35 points was seven shy of his own single-game school record, and his buzzer-beating 3 on a catch-and-shoot off a deflection was one of five he made.

In all, Arlington hit 11 3s.

Mendoza (14 points) and DJ Edmonsen (13) paced the Plainsmen.

The team also got a glimpse into its future. Sophomore guard Landon Rayner came off the bench to score all seven of his points in the final 8 minutes.

Down 22 entering the fourth quarter, Evergreen went to a full-court trap in an attempt to generate turnovers for possible extra possessions. At one point, Evergreen got within 53-41 with 4:30 to play thanks in part to a 7-0 burst, but never closer.

Henry described all 32 minutes as “we felt like we were in a blender.”

“We felt that way the whole game,” he said. “We were reaching deep into our bag to see what we could find.”

That, in part, is also what made a difference from the nine-game losing streak to winning 8 of 10 to reach regionals, Mendoza said. Not giving up, despite a large deficit.

“In the past (earlier in the season),” he said. “we would’ve given up. Once we got into the playoffs, I think we were able to turn it around in the second half by not giving up.”

ARLINGTON 73, EVERGREEN 53

EVERGREEN — Landon Rayner 7, Juelz Mendoza 14, Robert Lawrence 2, Adrian Williams 4, Delo Doutrive 2, DJ Edmonsen 13, Davonni Wright 0, Carmelo Stewart 5, Zack O’Sea 0, Arthur Ban 6, Fox Crader 0, Joey Pham 0. Totals 23 (11) 14-17 73.

ARLINGTON — Kaden Davis 0, Grayson Falk 1, Luke Brown 8, Andrew Bryant 0, Trent Nobach 9, David Zachman 11, Gage Price 2, Ty Rusko 3, Leyton Martin 2, Quintin Yon-Wagner 2, Ethan Martin 35. Totals 20 (6) 7-11 53.

Evergreen 10 11 10 22 — 53

Arlington 16 21 16 20 — 73

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