Auburn boys make third straight district championship

Trojans take down Todd Beamer thanks to a 22-0 run in third quarter.

There is an adage that gets thrown around when postseason play comes around: “It’s hard to beat a team three times.”

That adage was put to the test in the West Central District Semi-finals at Mount Tahoma on Feb. 15, where the Auburn Trojans looked to knock off Todd Beamer High School for the third straight time this season.

“I wasn’t excited to play Todd Beamer a third time… They’re a dangerous team. They got a lot of guys who can make shots and are athletic,” said Head Coach Ryan Hansen.

Auburn has had its way with the Titans since the school was erected back in 2008. The 2008-09 season was the one time Beamer has beaten Auburn on the boys basketball court. Since that game, Auburn has won 13 straight games over the Titans.

The result was no different at Mount Tahoma, with Auburn beating the Titans 67-47.

This game played out almost exactly like how the two previous games had this season. Both teams play with extreme physicality and passion, pushing each other’s buttons and pushing each other to the limit.

“We had everything to lose and they had nothing to lose. We came into the game knowing that we had to play hard and stay focused. Beamer had a chip on their shoulder and knew they were coming at us,” said Auburn’s Luvens Valcin.

Auburn had the slight edge in the first half. After the first quarter, the Trojans held the Titans to just 11 points, taking a 15-11 lead. Then moments before the first half concluded, Mike Reed hit a three-pointer to give Auburn a 30-27 lead.

Even going into the third quarter, the two were knotted at 40-40. From that point on, Auburn did what they do: Find a way to crush the will of their opponents.

“If we can defend and rebound, we can stay in games, and we really take a lot of pride in doing that. We also got a team that can score pretty well,” Hansen said.

To close out the third, Auburn went on to score 18 consecutive points and the first four in the fourth quarter.

“We talked at halftime about moving the basketball and making them defend longer than 10 seconds… We defended really well, kept them in front of us and rebounded,” said Hansen.

“In the third quarter something fueled the fire. We flipped the switch. First half we were off a little bit, in the second half that is where we played Auburn basketball,” Valcin said.

During the middle of that 22-point run, Jaylen Petty suffered a broken nose and would not return to the game.

“It’s an unfortunate thing to happen sometimes, but he is going to be okay… He’s a tough kid,” Hansen said.

In the fourth quarter, Auburn scored just nine points, which was enough to keep up with Beamer.

Auburn is headed to its third straight district championship Feb. 23 and will face a third different opponent in North Thurston (Timberline ‘22, Gig Harbor ‘23).

“North Thurston is going to be a tough game… You get into regionals and state, everybody is going to be good. We’ve got a tough road ahead of us,” Hansen said.