Auburn High School’s boys basketball team lost to the Federal Way High School Eagles, 58-71, on Jan. 5 to open up the second half of the league season. With the loss, the Trojans dropped to 1-2 in league standings, but have already played the two toughest teams so far — Tahoma and Federal Way.
Auburn (7-5 at press time) went on to beat Mt. Rainier on Jan. 7 by a score of 82-24, and was scheduled to play Kennedy Catholic on Jan. 10 after press time.
The season may look bleak based on their record now. But that could easily change in the very near future.
“We got a lot of games left to get ready for the playoffs. I believe in these guys. I think they will buy into what we are trying to teach them. I think we’ll be ready to go come playoffs,” said Trojans Head Coach Ryan Hansen
The last couple of weeks have been tough for Auburn. The boys have lost four out of their last five and lost three straight games. “Coming into tonight we knew we had to play a perfect 32 minutes… I think we played 26,” said Hansen about the Federal Way game.
What truly hurts about the game against Federal Way is Auburn was right there with the Eagles. Right before halftime, the Trojans closed the gap to just two points, 34-32. But when the second half began, there was just no answer for Auburn — the Eagles scored nine straight points.
In that nine-point run, Hansen described it as: “They came out and punched us in the mouth, and got out of character.”
The Trojans did have a couple of great performances in the contest. Senior Lateibreon Chandler ended that nine-point Eagle run with six points of his own in the third quarter, and totaled 12 points. Sophomore Jaylen Petty led all scorers with 31 points, and even when all seemed lost, Petty got the game back to within four scores (12 points) in the final quarter.
“He’s been doing that all year long. He’s a very competitive kid … He tried to do everything he could to keep us in the game,” Coach Hansen said. “He’s a special kid.”
The road to the playoffs is going to challenge this Trojan team. It started Jan. 7 against Mt. Rainier, which resulted in a win.
“I believe we can be a team to compete for a state championship. We have to define our roles a little better,” Hansen said.