Basketball: Auburn’s quest for back to back titles denied

The Auburn Trojans’ quest for a title repeat was thwarted with a 60-51 loss to Garfield High School inside the Tacoma Dome on March 3.

“Garfield is a good team, they have a lot of weapons and size. They kind of wore us down,” Auburn Head Coach Ryan Hansen said. “We came in here with a goal in mind… These guys fought extremely hard and I’m so proud of them.”

At this point in the season, the Trojans are “battered and beaten,” as Coach Hansen described.

They have dealt with injuries all season, including losing Jaylen Petty in their most recent game against Eastside Catholic. At the end of the game against Garfield, numerous Trojans were limping and hurting after a very physical postseason.

That didn’t stop the Trojans’ fight against Garfield — hot shooting from Tyrell Nichols and Lateibreon Chandler gave Auburn a spark, holding a two point lead going into halftime.

Nichols finished the game with a team high 20 points and shot 60% (6 out of 10) from three-point land. He also had two assists and rebounds. Chandler had eight points, five rebounds and a single assist.

But in the second half, the size and physicality of Garfield took its toll on Auburn, and their depth came into question.

“We don’t have a lot of depth, so we had guys playing dinged up, had dead legs, rolled ankles and bum knees. But they just kept fighting out there,” Hansen said.

One of the more impressive feats from an Auburn player on their biggest game of the season was Devon Anderson having a great game.

“He played a hell of a game and he had to. He moved up the depth chart … I thought he came out and really competed hard and played like a senior who was hungry to advance,” Hansen said.

Auburn took on first seeded Mt. Spokane in the third place game on Saturday night. The Wildcats (25-1) beat the Trojans (21-8).