The Auburn Mountainview boys basketball team snapped an eight-game 20-year losing streak to the Kentridge Chargers with a 56-36 win at Kentridge on Nov. 28.
Last season, the Lions played the Chargers in their third game of the season and lost by 18. The Lions flipped the script this season and walked out of the Charger gym with a huge first win of the season.
“They were super confident,” Head Coach Kendall White said. “I was the nervous one.”
A season ago, Auburn Mountainview made the state tournament, and after winning the opening round, the Lions had arguably their worst performance all season, falling to Bellevue, which ended up fourth in 3A.
Sure, the Lions took down the Chargers by 20, but the feeling among Auburn Mountainview players and coaches was displeasure with the result, even with the win.
“It feels all right. We should have won by more. We’re going to grow as a team, but that will come at practice. We’re only going to get better. It feels good,” said junior Sebastian Arius.
The Lions got out to a quick start against Kentridge, scoring the first eight points of the game. But they weren’t able to hold off the Chargers’ rush as the first quarter closed 10-7.
“We are very talented this year. I think we have a good bunch, a group of leaders that were able to get us going,” White said.
In the second quarter, Sebastian Arius got going, scoring eight points on two three-pointers in the quarter alone. He outscored all players in the first half with nine points as the Lions took a 32-15 lead over the Chargers.
“There is a lot of excitement and a lot of talent on this team. We’ve got to figure out our roles and play as a team,” Arius said.
In the 20-point victory, eight of the nine players who touched the court for coach White recorded a bucket. That is depth that White hasn’t had since he joined the Lion staff back in 2020.
“We’re super deep. It is a testament to their work. (There was) a lot of skill development in the offseason it has gotten super hard to rotate guys this year,” White said. “That should be us on a regular basis. Lots of spread-out buckets, with multiple guys in double figures.”
Senior Caleb Bowden scored five points, which was the most in the third quarter for either team and the most in the second half for either team. Bowden finished with 13 points, leading all scorers.
That third quarter was troublesome offensively for the Lions as they went through the majority of the quarter with just a single bucket from Bowden.
“They were probably a little too confident, which is why we let the pedal off (in the third quarter). So hopefully that was a wakeup call,” White said.
“We’re just getting together as a team right now. We’ll keep going and it will get better,” Arius said.
For the Lions to keep on progressing, off the court they have to get closer.
“In years past we have really bonded together to achieve a common goal. Right now the chemistry isn’t where it needs to be,” White said.
“We got to love each other,” Arius said. “Being the new point guard, I have to learn how to lead these guys. That’s what I am trying to do at the start of the season.”
Having a team mentality will benefit the Lions in the long run: “We have four guys that can really go at any moment. Getting them to understand that the win is more important than the individual bucket is the missing piece. If we can get it to where they genuinely do not care who is scoring, we have a chance to win a lot of games this year,” White said.
The Lions are back in action on Dec. 5 as they host Tahoma, which is coming off a state tournament appearance last season.