Terry Dawn scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half, when he went 6 of 9 from three-point distance, as the Eagles beat Bellarmine Prep to advance to state for the first time in 51 years.
PUYALLUP — Terry Dawn recognized the moment. And, seized it.
This was a rare shot at history for the 10th-ranked Arlington boys basketball team.
Dawn, a 6-foot-5 senior wing, provided the first-half firepower with 21 of his game-high 29 points and added 11 rebounds as the Eagles topped eighth-ranked Bellarmine Prep 58-47 on Saturday in the Class 4A regionals at Puyallup High School.
Arlington (21-3) will go to the state tournament for the first time since 1962. The only other team to get as far as regionals was the 2011 squad.
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Friday night, Arlington’s girls team also qualified for state. The state tournament begins Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
“We definitely put it into perspective that Arlington’s never done this before,” said Dawn, who hit 6 of 11 three-point attempts. “I know from the standpoint, it’s important because a lot of kids’ parents went to Arlington. My dad and my mom won state championships there, my dad in football and my mom in softball and basketball.
“This whole community is all together. We’ve worked so hard for this. I just take pride in Arlington and I want everyone to think the best of Arlington.”
Arlington, with one win this week in Tacoma, would become the first Eagles team to place at state in boys basketball.
“We’ve never been (to the Tacoma Dome), so that’s going to be exciting for our kids,” said Nick Brown, Arlington’s seventh-year coach who has spent 17 seasons with the program. “We don’t have the size of a lot of teams, but we have the heart and want-to. All year long, we didn’t get much respect. We kind of prove that we’ve earned (respect) now.”
Bellarmine Prep, which lost five of seven to start the season, finished 16-9.
Dawn, who averages 19 points, came out firing early, sinking all four of his three-point attempts in the opening 3:17. The Eagles hit their first six shots to go ahead 18-8.
Arlington led 39-20 halftime, with Dawn hitting 6 of 9 from three-point land.
“He just had a look in his eye, and I just had a feeling, so we just put the ball in his hands and let him go,” Brown said. “We asked him to step back a little bit, and we didn’t want to put everything on him. We’ve been waiting for him to do it.
“My thought was, ‘Let the dogs out.’ If anything, I’ve held him back, because when we got to this level, we knew we’d need everyone. It’s a team game.”
Arlington drained 9 of 16 three-point shots before the break.
Seniors Sefo Liuafa and Lucas Meikle, a Gonzaga signee, led the Lions with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Curtis 61, Jefferson 48
Andre Lewis scored 18 points as the sixth-ranked Vikings (24-2) won a game of back-and-forth runs to advance to the quarterfinals for the fifth time since 2005. Jefferson’s Daryon James led all scorers with 22 points. The loss left the Raiders (14-12) still without an official state-tournament berth in the school’s 45 years. The Raiders last reached the 16-team regionals in 1974.
Curtis jetted to a 26-5 lead before the Raiders closed the half on a 10-0 run. Jefferson got within eight on four occasions in the second half — the last time after James’ two free throws with 5:06 left to make it 50-42.