Recognizing just how difficult it is, Auburn girls basketball coach Jon Price welcomed a narrow, hard-fought victory over a familiar foe Friday night.
“It’s always nice to beat a rival,” a relieved Price said after the Trojans’ 47-43 win against Auburn Riverside in a North Puget Sound League Olympic Division game at Bob Jones Gymnasium. “The girls played real hard. Those Riverside girls played really hard, and they played tremendously hard against us. … (Coach) Christian (Miller) does a nice job over there.”
In a season of injuries and close losses, Auburn delivered a much-needed win against a program that has dominated the series. The win pulls Auburn into a three-way tie for third place in the division race, with plenty of games lined up. The Trojans (4-3 division, 6-7 overall) host Todd Beamer for a 7 p.m. encounter Tuesday.
The Ravens (2-5, 5-8) travel to Federal Way to face Decatur on Tuesday.
Emily Strojan, a 5-foot-10 junior, scored 15 points, and Jaya Harshman, a 5-6 junior, had 13 points to lead the Trojans. Jacklynn Smith contributed eight points.
For Auburn Riverside, Autumn Lee and Brooke Dye each made three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Carol Chikusa had eight points.
Lee’s 3-pointer gave the Ravens’ a 31-27 lead late in the third quarter. Strojan drove for two to close the gap to 31-29 entering the fourth quarter.
Lee’s last trey of the game put the Ravens on top, 40-39, with 3:20 to play.
The Trojans answered with an 8-0 run down the stretch to seize the win. After Smith sank a pair of free throws, freshman Madelyn Brown, who had just entered the period, drilled the first 3-pointer of her high school career with 1:32 to go. Strojan scored down low and Harshman, who had six points in the quarter, hit a free throw for a 47-40 lead with 31.2 seconds remaining.
Dye hit a trey with 18.8 seconds left to close the gap, but the Trojans were able to hold onto the ball and the win in the final seconds.
“It was a good high school basketball game. It was an entertaining game,” Price said. “It’s a good win … we’ll take it.”