Thursday, March 1, 2012

Arlington wins first Region 7-AAA girls basketball title


As the third-quarter horn sounded Wednesday in the Region 7-AAA title game, Ariel Hearn's shot from beyond half court barely rimmed out.

That was about the only thing that went wrong for the senior guard and her team all night.

Hearn scored 26 points as Arlington jumped on Bartlett early and never let up en route to a 66-41 win on their home court.

Arlington (27-3) advances to a sectional game Saturday at home against Central with an opportunity to advance to the state tournament for the first time in the program's history.

"This feels great," said Hearn, whose team has now beaten Bartlett four times this season.

“We wanted to take care of them early,” said Arlington senior Christyn Hopper, who finished with 15 points. “We had the experience of losing last year and we didn't want to go through that again.”

Hearn, a University of Memphis signee, was nearly unstoppable in the first half. She scored a bucket and set up teammate Logan Hammond on another with 3:12 left in the first quarter to give Arlington a 13-2 lead.

In the closing moments of the second quarter, Hearn hit a 3-pointer and scored on a short jumper to push the lead to 38-22 at the half. Hearn scored 19 points in the first half.

Arlington's defense took care of the rest, holding Bartlett without a field goal for the first 5:37 of the third quarter. When Hearn hit a 3-pointer with 4:52 left in the period, the lead hit 19 points.

"I thought our defense played really well tonight," said Arlington coach David Offerle. "We only allowed 41 points. We're ordinarily going to score more than that. ... Ariel's going to get her points and and she did that again tonight."

Rachell Hughes scored 16 points to lead Bartlett (20-12), which plays at Overton on Saturday in a sectional game.

Offerle knows Saturday will be tough, but he says his team is ready.

“I'm already thinking about it,” Offerle said moments after Wednesday's win. “I like our chances in one game against anybody.”

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