Playing quick and loose, Auburn ran away from a touring team from Australia to open the boys basketball season Tuesday night.
Sophomore guard Dae’Kwon Watson scored 15 points to lead a balanced attack as the Trojans routed the North East Bushrangers 76-37 in a nonleague tune-up at Bob Jones Gymnasium.
Auburn jumped out to a 10-point lead in the opening minutes, built a 43-20 lead by halftime and stretched the margin to as many as 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Coach Ryan Hansen liked what he saw from his young, deep team that pushed the tempo, forced turnovers and distributed the ball to the open shooter against the overmatched Australians.
“They do a great job of sharing the basketball,” Hansen said. “These guys do not care who scores. They will feed the hot hand. They seem to know where each one is (on the court). … It’s a byproduct of them playing a lot of basketball together. This is a group that genuinely cares for each another. They just want to go out and play well.”
Hansen brought a group of his players to China this past summer to experience international play. Those same players logged many starts and minutes on the varsity court last season in which the Trojans finished 16-7 and second in the North Puget Sound League Olympic Division race.
Sophomore guard Maleek Arington scored 13 points, and freshman Ryan Mpouli and sophomore Kaden Hansen came off the bench to contribute 12 points each.
“We feel confident playing anybody on our bench,” Coach Hansen said. “It’s a group where we can put any combination of players on the court and be successful.”
The Bushrangers, playing the second of nine games touring the Seattle and Portland areas, couldn’t keep up.
“We take a lot from these games,” said Emma Henry, the Bushrangers coach. “Little things we need to work on … boxing out, trusting ourselves and slowing down the pace of the game. We were rushing things a lot. We haven’t come across a team that has put on that much pressure before.”
The Trojans open NPSL Olympic play at Todd Beamer on Thursday night.