Victory seemed to be preordained for Arlington after a board game before the Eagles' victory over Beamer.
PUYALLUP — It started with a sign, then a statement. And it ended with an exclamation point as the No. 6 Arlington girls basketball team beat No. 7 Beamer Friday night, 50-42, in the Class 4A regionals.
The Eagles (20-4) are headed to the Tacoma Dome for the first time since 2001, when Kayla Burt was a senior.
When Marissa Swegle’s Words with Friends game spelled “Tacoma” on the bus ride from Arlington, the team took it as an omen.
“We just knew it was fate,” senior captain Krista Showalter said. “We got here and said, ‘Let’s just take care of business.’ “
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She told coach Joe Marsh as much when he started to give his pregame speech.
“We’ve got this,” Showalter said.
And they did, building a 15-point lead in the third quarter and withstanding Beamer’s late charge. The young Titans (20-6) couldn’t overcome a frigid shooting night against Arlington’s tight zone and sorely missed Quinessa Caylo-Do, a long-range specialist who was out with an elbow injury.
“She’s our zone-buster,” coach Corey Alexander said.
The Eagles ran their offense to near perfection for three and a half quarters, getting precision passes and backdoor cuts. Jayla Russ, a 6-foot freshman filling in for injured Ronnie Ladines (broken finger) scored a season-high 15 points.
After Nia Alexander’s three-point play cut Arlington’s lead to 44-41 with 1:13 to play, senior Winter Brown sank two clutch free throws. She finished with 10 points. Lindsay Brown added six points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
Showalter added six points with six assists.
“She’s our rock,” Marsh said.
It was an emotional celebration for the Eagles, many of whom have played together since grade school. The only experience they had at state was watching from the stands.
“This year we said we didn’t want to be the team that watched anymore,” Showalter said.
Junior Megan Huff finished with 15 points, as did Nia Alexander, a freshman.
“They got a taste of what it’s like,” Corey Alexander said of his young team.
Mount Rainier 69, Kentridge 50
After a slow start, the top-ranked Rams (25-1) pulled away in the second half to record their third win of the season over the Chargers.
Kentridge (14-12) trailed just 37-34 before Mount Rainier went on a 14-0 run keyed by junior Brittany McPhee, who put up eight of her game-high 29 points during that span.
McPhee made 13 of 16 free throws in the physical game. Aqueelah Williams added 14 points and Jordan McPhee 11.
Kentridge got 19 points from Alicia Dugan and 14 from Courtnae Williams.
The Chargers forced 20 Mount Rainier turnovers.
“Hopefully it’s a little wake-up call,” Rams coach Bob Bolam said. “We’ve got to play better than that.”