The Auburn High School boys basketball team made history by winning the 3A State Championship on Saturday, March 5.
The Auburn Trojans beat Rainier Beach, 58-48. This is the team’s first time winning the state championship. Auburn beat three metro league teams in a row to take home the title.
Coach Ryan Hansen said the team’s success at the championship tournament came down to two things: connection and toughness.
“The connection these guys have, they’ve been playing together for so long, they just have a really good connection,” Hansen said. “I think we stepped up and played tough throughout the whole tournament.”
Winning the state championship was a great way to end his high school basketball career, Dae’Kwon Watson said.
“It feels good [to be state champions]. It’s like a dream come true. A lot of us have been dreaming about this since our freshman year and now it’s a reality,” Watson said. “It felt really good to end with such a big game, to finally get the state ring and put the city on the map.”
The team also had another form of inspiration: Bobby Vogel, Auburn High School’s basketball team manager, number one fan and local hero who died Sept. 26.
“We worked so hard for this, early mornings and late nights, just for this moment, so to finally be here and do it for Bobby [Vogel] it’s a great feeling,” Maleek Arington said.
Auburn’s win at the state championship got them national attention. The team is now ranked 24th nationally by MaxPreps, a website specializing in high school sports coverage.
In addition to this, after winning the state championship, the team was invited to compete at the postseason State Champions Invitational in Tampa, Florida, in the beginning of April, Hansen said. The invitational is all-expenses paid, and the first game will be aired on ESPNU. The championship game will be aired on ESPN2, Hansen said.