Auburn boys lose opening round of state, but are still Dome-bound

Loss put the Trojans on the same path as their 2022 championship.

Auburn High School boys basketball fell to the O’Dea Fighting Irish, 63-61, in the regional round of the 2023 state tournament Feb. 25.

“We knew it was going to be really tough. I thought over a long stretch of the game we did a good job keeping them in front of us,” said Ryan Hansen, head coach for Auburn. “It was a heck of a high school game.”

This isn’t the first time the Trojans lost a game like this. During last year’s first ever basketball state title run, the Trojans lost in the exact same spot as this year.

“This was the same path we took last year. There’s no reason to hang our heads, we competed against a very good team,” Hansen said.

Auburn entered as the number four seed this season in the state tournament and found themselves against the five-seeded O’Dea High School from Seattle.

It was a back and forth contest with neither team creating separation until the fourth quarter. The Trojans’ standout sophomore Jaylen Petty didn’t score a field goal until late in the second quarter, but totalled 12 in the first half and finished with 27.

It was a physical, foul-ridden game to start out. In the first quarter, there were a total of 17 fouls between the two teams.

“In the grand scheme of things, I feel like the way we competed was the most important. We fought and essentially beat ourselves,” senior Semaj Brown said.

At halftime, the teams were deadlocked at 28-28, and the game seemed destined to go down to the wire.

The lone run that separated the Irish was late in the fourth quarter — they went on a 10-0 run and took a 58-51 lead over the Trojans.

Even with that run, the Trojans still fought back, making clutch baskets and getting to the free throw line. Petty alone made five free throws in the fourth quarter to keep Auburn in the game.

Despite Petty’s performance, the Trojans didn’t shoot their best from the charity stripe.

“When you get to this point in the season you can’t give away free points…We just have to take advantage of those opportunities,” Hansen said.

This Auburn team has faced adversity throughout this season. Coach Hansen always looks back at the California trip where the team came together. A side story is when the Trojans went to California, they took a bus with the O’Dea squad.

“I feel like losing this game is only going to prepare us for the Dome,” Brown said.

Auburn opens up their Tacoma Dome portion of the tournament with a date against Arlington at 7:15 p.m. March 1 (after press time).