Hoops: Auburn sweeps away Lincoln en route to state

Both the Trojan boys and girls basketball teams took care of Lincoln in first round.

Playoff basketball season is alive and well in the NPSL and the South King County area. Auburn and Lincoln were paired up in a doubleheader with the girls kicking off the West Central District Tournament between these two sides.

Inside a packed house, the Auburn Trojan girls team hadn’t really played a close game since a 42-41 win over Kentridge on Dec. 28.

Both games that went on Feb. 9 inside the Bob Jones Gymnasium had state tournament implications. With a win, teams clinched themselves a spot at the state tournament table.

The knock on Auburn’s girls team is their resume outside of two to three games has been a smooth ride, without many challenges. But a test like Lincoln can silence those speculations, and if the game against the Lady Abes was a test, Auburn passed the test without a doubt.

“Coming out and playing this high level and energy was so fun. We just vibe,” said senior Jayla Brown.

The Trojans were challenged early on, even trailing by three and four scores. But a steady hand prevailed with the Auburn girls winning, 65-53.

“I was proud of us after getting down five to seven points and that adversity. Our girls were keeping it together, and I could tell the way they were talking on the court after a mistake or miss it was ‘It’s all right, next play,’” Head Coach Jessica Hansen said.

To start in the first quarter, Auburn had all five starters score before a starter scored their second basket. But Lincoln caused some problems for the Trojans and got out in front of Auburn 19-15 at the end of the first.

“We had to settle in and let the game come to us and not try to force anything. We switched up our defense and that kind of helped us,” Hansen said.

The second quarter was the Avery Hansen quarter. Hansen went off for 11 points in the second quarter and carried the Trojans to a six point lead at halftime 38-32. Hansen has a nose for the big game, and she rose to the occasion time and time again when the team needed it most, and her mentality started early on Friday.

“She killed it. I thought she played awesome…She had her game face on today,” Hansen said.

Out of halftime, the Trojans got back to their balanced scoring attack with four players making shots from the floor. Jayla Brown is one of three returning varsity players on this Trojan roster, and after a 2-11 season, Brown could have thought that there was not a chance to reach state again. But instead, she looked to the future.

“I knew that we were going to be good. I had played with some of the freshmen before, so last year it was about bettering myself individually. This year is about making a big footprint at districts and now state,” Brown said.

In that third quarter, senior Bella Titialii had been charged with a foul and was seen very emotional on the bench. After playing an entire season on JV last season because of a transfer from Eastside Catholic, she has gone through a lot to get to this point. Hansen had a lot of praise for her senior: “Bella is a freaking beast,” Hansen said.

Auburn carried a nine-point lead into the fourth and never wavered. Five Trojans scored in the games final period. Hansen finished with 22 points, Keleesa Howard had 14. Both Hansen and Howard are freshmen along with four other first-year players on the Trojans roster.

Brown is one of six seniors creating a unique team make-up of veterans and freshmen. Brown has relished the role of a leader and even takes after the young guns. “They’re the best freshmen in the state. Not only are they mentally mature, the way they play is unselfish. I don’t know any freshmen that are like them,” Brown said.

“Me as a senior I’m looking up to them… It’s amazing, I love it,” said Brown.

Auburn will face Bonney Lake in the West Central District semi-finals that will take place at Mt. Tahoma on Feb. 14.

Jaylen Petty elevates against Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Jaylen Petty elevates against Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter


The Auburn boys have been a juggernaut since the 2023 season started, and in the postseason looked to continue that trend.

The Trojans are 21-1 and just finished a 12-0 league season in a convincing 74-52 win over the Auburn Mountainview Lions.

The Lincoln boys have had a slightly different path to the district tournament. After splitting the season series with Stadium, the Abes took home the top spot with a 17-3 regular season record.

Similar to the girls, Auburn hasn’t played a close game since mid-January against Todd Beamer. So this Lincoln side had a chance to put Auburn in unfamiliar territory with a lot on the line.

“They came out and really got up in us. They were really physical with us and were pushing us off of our spots,” said Head Coach Ryan Hansen.

Initially, it looked like it was going to be the same old Auburn game. Within the first four baskets, the Trojans had two dunks and the air show had begun. Senior Mike Reed nailed two threes and Auburn looked to be rolling. But the Abes battled back and cut the Trojan lead to five after the first, 21-16.

Auburn’s offense sluffed in the second quarter. Jaylen Petty made two threes and a pair of free throws. The rest of the Trojan offense scored just five points in the second quarter. Going into halftime, the two sides were tied at 34-34.

“The game was all about tempo. I feel like in the first half we were a bit lackadaisical. But we picked it up in the second half,” Petty said.

That struggle on offense continued in the third quarter, but Carter Hansen was able to carry the Trojans into the fourth quarter. Hansen and Petty combined for 16 points, while the rest of Auburn had just three Mark Johnson free throws to show.

“Carter is used to being in that position, he’s a gamer. He’s a competitive kid,” Hansen said on Carter.

Johnson played huge minutes for Hansen, providing some defensive juice and energy the Trojans needed to carry them while they handled foul trouble. Johnson was a JV call-up for the Trojans and he may have just earned serious minutes.

“When I woke up I didn’t plan on playing Mark Johnson…He banged and battled, didn’t concede. He picked up three fouls in like four minutes, that’s what he does. He’s a banger, he was huge for us tonight. I don’t know if we win this game without him,” Hansen said.

Petty finished with 32 points, a team high. But it was a noisy 32 points and came easy for the two-time NPSL MVP.

“It wasn’t really a night for me. But that’s my role as a teammate, how can I get it to my team,” Petty said.

In the fourth quarter, it was business as usual for Auburn. After Lincoln tied the game on its first possession, Auburn went on a smooth 13-4 run, putting the Abes away. Petty hit a pair of huge threes and really extended the floor and Auburn’s lead.

“This is fun, this is what we wanted. We didn’t want any of those weak games, we wanted to fight and get bigger games,” Petty said.

“I went over and I told Jaylen, look, you’re the best player on the floor. Go be that guy,” Hansen said.

Auburn after the win is now destined for a third matchup against Todd Beamer — ateam who has given the Trojans their best test in the regular season. But the Trojans have beaten Beamer by an average of 17.5 points.

The Trojans have beaten Beamer 13 games in a row. The only time Todd Beamer beat the Trojans was back in 2009. The two go to war Feb. 15 at Mt. Tahoma High School.

Emmalee Secrest drive to the basket against Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Emmalee Secrest drive to the basket against Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Jaylen Petty lets out a yell after an and-one three point shot. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Jaylen Petty lets out a yell after an and-one three point shot. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Trojan senior Luvens Valcin takes flight against the Abes of Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Trojan senior Luvens Valcin takes flight against the Abes of Lincoln. Ben Ray / The Reporter