AUBURN RIVERSIDE AT A GLANCE
COACH: Derek Pegram, second year
LAST SEASON: 14-11 overall, 2-3 in postseason with an appearance in the district tournament.
IMPACT PLAYERS: McKenzi Williams, 5-foot-5, sophomore, guard; Olivia Denton, 5-7, sophomore, guard; Rachel Davey, 5-8, senior, guard; Ayanna Ford, 5-6, senior, guard; and Payton Dunne, 5-10, senior, forward.
TOP NEWCOMERS: Faith Turner, 6-3, sophomore, post.
LAST STATE APPEARANCE: 2011.
OUTLOOK: Given the loss of four key players from last year’s squad, the Ravens may be a little light in on-court experience. Leading scorer Brittni Williams is gone, and Simona Allen, Dannielle Brickner and Emily Vaines have graduated. The Ravens look to their youth in the backfield to make headway in the South Puget Sound League 3A this season. According to Pegram, the sophomore guard tandem of Denton and McKenzie Williams should lead the way. The duo has played together at Mt. Baker Middle School for Tree of Hope (select team), and now all the girls are starters for Auburn Riverside. “We have good guard play led by two sophomores, (but we) also have some impactful post players,” Pegram said. The Ravens boast some height in the front court with 6-3 post Turner, 5-10 forward Dunne, and 6-2 forward Kiana Drumheller. “Having lost four significant players from last season, this group of young Ravens looks to build chemistry together and compete at the top of the league and into the playoffs,” he said.
KEY GAMES: The Ravens host the always-tough Enumclaw Hornets at 7 p.m. Dec. 16. The Ravens present their Holiday classic at Auburn Riverside on Dec. 29-30.
AUBURN AT A GLANCE
COACH: Jon Price, first year
LAST SEASON: 2-18 overall, last place in the SPSL North 4A.
LAST STATE APPEARANCE: 2008.
IMPACT PLAYERS: Sydney Dewitt, 5-8, sophomore, guard; Nylok Yat, 5-9, senior, post; Masar Hassoun, 5-6, junior, guard; Maria Rodriguez, 5-1, sophomore, guard; Keira Keine-Hoiland, 5-7, freshman, wing; Mickelle Howard, 5-4, junior, wing; and Maysen Tinney, 5-9, sophomore, post.
OUTLOOK: Jon Price means to return the Auburn girls program to glory. Over the years, the Trojans have won 16 league titles, nine district titles and two state titles. “The Trojans are rebuilding with a young team of almost all underclassmen,” said Price, who previously coached the Auburn Mountainview boys. “Our motto is ‘better every day,’ and that’s what we are striving to do, get better every day. Auburn is a proud, storied girls basketball program, and we are working hard to rebuild it from the ground up.” With just one senior on the roster, Price said the team looks to overcome inexperience and a lack of size with its “energy, heart toughness and coachability.” The team gets a boost with the transfer of Dewitt, who earned All-SPSL North 4A honorable-mention honors last season at Federal Way.
KEY GAMES: Let the cross-town rivalries begin. The Trojans host Auburn Riverside on Jan. 13 and play Auburn Mountainview for the second time on Jan. 16.
AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW AT A GLANCE
COACH: Dustin DePiano, second year
LAST SEASON: 20-6 overall, SPSL 3A champions, lost in first round of state regionals.
LAST STATE APPEARANCE: 2014.
TOP IMPACT PLAYERS: Brianna Zaragoza-Jones, 5-5, junior, guard; Carlie Sahlin, sophomore, guard; Tanya Spatarel, 5-9, junior, post; and Sarah Bailey, 5-8, senior, guard.
STRENGTH: The Lions look to garner experience quickly in the SPSL 3A. With no returning starters – the Lions’ only projected returning starter Eli Alfrey tore her ACL playing soccer this fall – the team needs someone to step up on the court. “I could see us struggling early on while the girls adjust to varsity basketball,” DePiano said. Zaragoza-Jones, who was an All-SPSL 3A honorable-mention performer last year, returns. The Lions have four post players looking to play lots of minutes. “I think we have a decent amount of talent, and after some work we’ll be ready to compete in what’s become a tougher league with the addition of the other Auburn schools and Sumner.”
KEY GAMES: The Lions take on SPSL 4A Kentlake in the ShoWare Shootout on Dec. 20. Auburn Mountainview begins its second spin around the SPSL 3A in January, with home games against Auburn on Jan. 16 and Auburn Riverside on Jan. 20.