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Originally published February 28, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Page modified February 28, 2013 at 10:24 PM

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Something special going on in Arlington: Boys, girls both advance to semifinals | 4A Girls Notebook

This feeling has been building all season for players and coaches in the Arlington High School girls and boys basketball programs. Something very special was...

Special to The Seattle Times

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TACOMA — This feeling has been building all season for players and coaches in the Arlington High School girls and boys basketball programs.

Something very special was going to happen.

For the first time in school history, both programs are in the Class 4A state semifinals. And the run of success has galvanized the community.

Thursday, on the day the state tournament began at the Tacoma Dome, much of the school's student body packed the school's commons at 7:30 a.m. Before that, both teams had received a police escort through downtown to the school.

It was quite a scene.

"To come into the school and see hundreds of our students there all ready to go and cheer us along, that got us going," Arlington senior Krista Showalter said. "They sent us off and then we came here and watched the boys take care of business. We're really proud of them. They hadn't been here as a program and we hadn't been here since, like, 2001.

"For both of us to be top four in the state, that's pretty unbelievable."

The once-small community has a small-town, close-knit feel, thanks in no small part to the basketball teams' success.

"This thing has been building all season," said Arlington girls coach Joe Marsh, whose team turned back fourth-ranked Gonzaga Prep 43-40 in the quarterfinals. "We both had great seasons, and we built up similar success all year long. It's just kind of culminating with us both getting to state and winning in the first round.

"We just have a great community. It's not small anymore, but it still feels like that."

The girls play WesCo 4A North rival Lake Stevens in Friday's semifinals at 7:15 p.m. The boys, who beat Richland, 72-60 Thursday, meet No. 2 Jackson, a WesCo South team, in Friday's semifinals at 5:30 p.m.

Tie-ed to his wardrobe

Lake Stevens coach Randall Edens received a big assist from assistant coach Gil McKinnie in the wardrobe department.

Edens had plenty of options when McKinnie, who is the midst of moving to a new residence, handed over a box of 40 ties for Edens' perusal. Edens selected a light purple one from the box, and the rest went into the trunk of his car.

"I just stabbed one and went with it," Edens said. "There was like 40, 50, at least. I really haven't had a chance to get them out and look at them."

Star player Brooke Pahukoa tweeted about the tie situation before the game.

A Johnson thing at Kentwood

Ann and Bill Johnson have spent much of the past nine years in the Kentwood gym watching three daughters play basketball. And they'll be back for one more — youngest Jenny is just a junior.

All three have played at the Tacoma Dome. Elizabeth was part of Kentwood teams from 2005-07. The Conquerors placed third her senior year. Courtney played from 2008-11, helping the '09 team win the state title.

Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer

contributed to this report.

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