MARYSVILLE — The young Marysville-Pilchuck varsity basketball team suffered its first loss of the season against the Arlington Eagles in a 68-42 defeat Dec. 3.
The game started competitively but in favor of the Tomahawks. M-P managed to stay on top through the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, leading the Eagles 14-11.
Tomahawk supporters, adorned in red and white, congregated toward the center of their stands, cheering on their team in hopes of a season-opening win.
Despite help from M-P’s home crowd, the Tomahawks’ momentum wore down as the more developed Eagles began sinking three-point shots, rallying in the second quarter.
The Tomahawks struggled to keep pace with the Eagles, who outscored the Tomahawks 31-19 by halftime.
“Our on-the-ball defense needs to be better,” M-P Head Coach Bary Gould said.
The point deficit increased after the half. The Eagles were all over the Tomahawks’ side of the court, outscoring them by 15 points to the end of the third quarter.
The Tomahawks struggled to answer with baskets of their own. “Our offense was stagnant at times,” Gould said.
M-P’s defense couldn’t catch a break as the Eagles shut them out in the final period of the game, ending the night at 68-42.
In addition to issues on the Tomahawks’ defensive and offensive sides of the ball, Gould stated the team’s inexperience was what gave them the most trouble that night. “We’re really young, and even where we’re not young, we are really inexperienced,” Gould said.
“We have two solid returners,” Gould said. “Everyone else was on the JV squad last year.”
According to Gould, there are no starting seniors on M-P’s team. Arlington, on the other hand, has five. On top of that the Eagles went to the state tournament last year and have returning varsity players.
“They’re a good team,” Gould said. “We try to schedule our non-league opponents to where they can be challenging and revealing.”
Though it was a disappointing start to the season against a tremendous opponent, Gould and his players are still hopeful for a strong season.
The result of the game showed crucial things the team can improve upon. “It’s a big learning curve. It’s a way faster game,” Gould said. “We will definitely adjust, and its going to be positive.”
Gould was impressed with how his young team was able to hold its own and lead at the beginning of the game. “Its uncharacteristic of what we have done,” Gould said. “In the summer, we were typically a slower-starting team.”
Executing on defensive plays and converting on free throws are some aspects the team is looking to improve upon. “We got to the free throw line a lot,” Gould said. “But we got to convert on those and knock them down.”
Gould felt that if the team had an answer to the Eagles’ consistent three-point shooting, it could have turned the tide of the game. “That could’ve been a big momentum swing,” Gould said.
Sophomore point-guard Bryce Juneau was pleased with his team’s performance despite the loss.
“We went through a lot of stuff and worked really hard,” said Juneau, who was one of the highest scoring players on MP’s team. Juneau scored eight points, tying with junior Cole Grind and senior Caleb Keeton.
Juneau hopes that the team’s hard work will translate into wins for upcoming games. “I’m proud of this team,” Juneau said.