Dismal shooting, untimely turnovers and an opposing force.
All did not go well for the Auburn boys basketball team in its home opener – a 67-47 loss to heralded Enumclaw – on Friday night in the Bob Jones Gym.
It’s early in the North Puget Sound League Olympic Division race, but the Trojans know they have much to correct if they want to go elbow-to-elbow with the first-half pack.
Auburn dropped to 1-1 in league, 2-1 overall. The Hornets, who return four starters from a team that reached the 4A state quarterfinals last season, are 2-0 and 3-0.
“Tough night,” said Pa’Treon “Joosey” Lee, the Trojans’ returning all-league guard who finished with 17 hard-fought points. “Enumclaw is a really good team. They played like they are state (tournament) contenders. … We give them props. They played a good game tonight.
“We definitely cannot put our heads down. We’re going to stay together. We’re going to push forward.”
Aside from Auburn’s cold-shooting night, the Hornets’ big man, 6-foot-7 senior Kaden Anderson, delivered a complete game. Auburn couldn’t contain Anderson, who erupted for 36 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
It seemed everything Anderson put up went in, including an awkward deep baseline jumper that found the bottom of the net with 18.6 seconds left in the game. Fouled on the attempt, Anderson sank the free throw to complete a four-point play that punctuated a special night for one the division’s top post players.
“I just felt really good tonight,” said Anderson, who has drawn interest from several small colleges, including Western Washington University. “We were just containing the lanes, not letting them drive, and we just moved the ball offensively. … Good night for us.”
Anderson scored 13 first-half points as the Hornets built a 32-25 lead.
The Trojans missed five of their first six shots from the field to open the third quarter, enabling the Hornets to stretch their lead to 10 points.
Lee hit back-to-back treys, but Anderson scored eight of the Hornets’ next 10 points to take a 50-38 lead into the fourth quarter. Auburn would get no closer in the final eight minutes of play.
“We knew (Anderson) was a good player coming in. He just kinda had his way against us,” said Auburn coach Ryan Hansen. “He was kinda inside-out … hit some shots from the perimeter and got to the offensive glass. He’s very patient with his moves. He did a great job of setting our guys up with a pump-fake.
“Enumclaw showed us why they are a state tournament-caliber team,” Hansen continued. “They defend and rebound. They play well together. We we’re hoping to come in here and compete a little better, but we didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t make shots, and especially against a team like Enumclaw, who really packs it in, you’ve got to hit some shots.”
Hansen likes his team and knows it can improve with time.
“We’re going to show up on Monday and work really hard and try to get better,” he said. “We’re going to put our hard hats on and get to work.”
Ka’sean Green finished with eight points and Isaiah Dunn had six for Auburn. Griffin Wade, effective on defense, scored 12 points for Enumclaw.