ARLINGTON -- After an 0-4 start, the Arlington Memorial High School girls basketball team is using stellar defense to turn things around.
That suffocating defense was on display Wednesday at the Eagles' Nest, as Arlington held Twin Valley to seven field goals in a 42-17 victory.
"We've really been working on defense, we have to hang our hat on that all year," said Arlington coach Larry Andrews. "We're starting to come together and become cohesive as a unit."
The turning point for the Eagles was the third quarter. Heading into halftime up 14-5, Arlington scored the next 14 in a row, including two 3-pointers from leading scorer Molly Elwell and two baskets from second-leading scorer Julia Lacoste (nine points).
The stretch coincided with Twin Valley (4-8) being kept off the scoreboard for more than 11 minutes spanning the second and third quarters.
The Wildcats made a single field goal in each of the first three quarters and had 29 turnovers in the contest.
"Twenty-nine turnovers is ridiculous," said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. "Arlington was better than us, no question about it. We were only down nine at halftime and still in it, but then they started to knock down some shots and it went downhill from there."
It was slow going on a frigid night outside the Eagles' Nest from the opening tip. Both teams only found the bottom of the net once in the first eight minutes, and Arlington led 5-3 after one. The second was much of the same until the 1:40 mark of the first half, when Arlington hit on three baskets -- a jumper by Elwell and two from senior captain Rayleen Sherman.
Elwell led the way for Arlington, nearly outscoring the Wildcats on her own with 15 points.
"That was a quiet 15," Andrews said. "She's a good shooter. Between her and Julia, they run the ship and it's getting better every day."
Sherman finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
"We found our offensive rhythm a little bit at the end of the first half," Andrews said. "At halftime, I just told them to try and keep it going in the second half. Our defensive stops turned into offense and that's something we talk about a lot."
In the fourth, Twin Valley scored on back-to-back possessions, but Arlington scored the next three times -- twice by Lacoste and a steal and layup from Elwell -- to stop any thoughts of a comeback.
"Give Arlington credit, they were in your face, playing solid defense," Hayford said.
Arlington has won four of its last five games.
"We're making smart decisions and executing," Andrews said. "We've got some good momentum and the chemistry is starting to come together."