Eagles take pride in protecting the Nest
ARLINGTON >> Home court advantage is an important tool that every team wants. Throughout the years, having that homefield, home ice or homecourt advantage is a huge plus for a team to help them win a game or a playoff series.
That has been the case this year for the Arlington Memorial High School boys basketball team.
Overall, Arlington is 11-3, so they've been OK on the road too, but the Eagles are a perfect 7-0 at home so far this season, making the Eagles' Nest into an uncomfortable place for opposing teams to play.
"We take pride in protecting the nest," said Arlington coach Chris Taft. "We get the advantage to play in this gym every day, so it's really important to play well in it and it's great to see that were doing that this year."
Playing well in the Eagles's Nest has not been kind for Arlington the past few seasons and that's why one of the team's goals this year was to be undefeated at home.
"Our goal from day was to be perfect at home this year," said senior Austin Hawley. "For me personally, I want to protect the nest and give the hometown crowd to cheer about every time they come watch us play. That is something now that every guy on the team wants to do."
There's been lots to cheer about for the Arlington boys, home or away.
Heading into tonight's matchup with Proctor, the Eagles have already tied their win total from the past two years combined. Arlington has its most wins since 2012, when they had 15, but fell in the quarterfinals of the Division IV tournament.
"We have proven this year that we're not just deep, but a very talented team," Taft said. "We can play nine to 10 guys a night and we know they will all step in and do a great job for us. Having that luxury is why were having such great success this season."
Showing how deep of a team Arlington is, the Eagles have had seven players this season score 15 or more points in a game. Their depth is not just important on offense, but on defense too, as the Eagles are holding their opponents to only 35 points per game during its ongoing five-game win streak.
It's been quite an impressive run for Arlington this season, but they still have a huge challenge if they want to remain perfect at the Nest — they'll face Proctor, the top team in D-IV, coming in at 12-2.
The first time the teams met, the Eagles were served a 79-34 beatdown by the reigning state champs.
"We got a big test in Proctor coming up," Taft said. "They're the No. 1 ranked team in the state and hopefully we can find a way to slow them down to continue to protect the nest."
Tonight the Eagles will try to do what no team in Division IV has done this season in beating Proctor — both of the Phantoms' defeats were against Division II opponents.
"We're going to have to play harder then we have had this season to beat Proctor and protect the nest," said senior Nathan Mattison. "If we can continue to play well on defense, will definitely a shot to knock them off."
Tonight's clash at the Eagles' Nest will start at 7 p.m.
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