Auburn first in SPSL North 4A | Boys basketball

Auburn senior Harold Lee takes to the air with a scoop shot against district rival Auburn Riverside. - Shawn Skager/Reporter
Auburn senior Harold Lee takes to the air with a scoop shot against district rival Auburn Riverside.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

Auburn boys basketball coach Ryan Hansen knows full well the value of a little bad press.

“Some of the preseason coaches’ polls had us picked to finish seventh out of nine teams,” Hansen said. “We’ve used that as bulletin board material. It’s kind of lit their fire.”

So far this season those flames have been well stoked, with the Trojans perched atop the South Puget Sound League North 4A heap with a 8-1 record, 9-4 overall.

“I think we’re exceeding expectations, but I really thought we would be competitive every game,” Hansen said.

Coming into the season, the Trojans looked to capitalize on the success of the school’s football team, which fought its way to the state 4A semifinals.

“Traditionally our football teams have set the tone for our season. When they’ve done well, we’ve followed suit,” Hansen said.

Among the players who lifted the Trojans to a 10-3 football season was senior Harold Lee, who is averaging more than 17 points per game and leads the team in assists.

“Harold Lee is coming off a great football season,” Hansen said. “He’s our point guard and coach on the floor.”

Also stepping up has been senior 6-foot-4 post Spencer Fisher, who is averaging more than 14 points per game.

“He’s been steady all year,” Hansen said. “He just has a motor that won’t quit.”

Add in the maturation of Kentwood transfer Rio Paul, a 6-2 junior guard, and the Trojans seem to have found a recipe for success.

“He’s had a couple of 20 point games,” Hansen said of Paul. “He has found his comfort zone.”

The real key this season has been the Trojans’ high assist-to-basket ratio, Hansen said.

“We’re sharing the ball well,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we’ve got some good team speed. The other thing that gets us going is our defense. We’re pressuring teams. When we get those going and share the ball, we can get the high-percentage shots.”

The Trojans continue their quest for the North title with a 7:30 p.m. Friday home game against Mount Rainier (6-3 league, 8-4 overall).

ALSO: Although Auburn Riverside (1-8, 3-10) continues to struggle in the North 4A, one bright spot is the play of 6-1 junior guard Derek Brown. Through 11 games, Brown is averaging more than 26 points per outing, a stretch that including an eye-popping 49 points against Kentridge (3-6,6-7) on Dec. 7. Auburn Riverside defeated The Ravens host Kentlake (0-9, 0-13) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. …Auburn Mountainview is off to a quick start in the SPSL 3A, posting a 3-0 league record (9-3) overall under new coach Terrance Johnson. The Lions defeated Lakes (2-1, 8-5) 45-49 on Tuesday with senior Domenic Rockey leading the way with a game high 15 points. Auburn Mountainview will host Peninsula (0-3, 2-11) in league action at 7 p.m. Friday. … Auburn Adventist (1-2, 4-5) posted a 78-66 Sea-Tac 2B conference win against Chief Leschi (1-1, 2-5) on Tuesday. The Falcons hosted Crosspoint Academy (0-2, 3-8) on Thursday and will host Bear Creek (2-0,7-5) at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday.


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