Lions dominate Peninsula to move into first place | SPSL 3A boys basketball

Ryan Lacey scored 28 points in Auburn Mountainview’s 59-41 win

The pregame festivities were reserved to honor the graduating seniors at Peninsula.

But the celebration afterward was all about Auburn Mountainview as the Lions moved into sole possession of first place in South Puget Sound League 3A with a 59-41 boys basketball victory Tuesday night against the Seahawks.

“It’s honestly a dream come true, especially to beat a good team like Peninsula,” said senior guard Ryan Lacey, adding that he knows Auburn Mountainview still must win Friday in its regular-season finale to secure sole possession of the league title. Tipoff is 7 p.m. “For us to have the league title over them is amazing.”

The Lions (18-1 overall, 12-1 league) made it look easy early. After Oregon State commit JaQuori McLaughlin opened the game with a 3-pointer, Auburn Mountainview scored 13 unanswered points, capped by a Lacey drive with 3:10 minutes left in the first quarter.

Lacey, who finished with a game-high 28 points, said he was frustrated with his performance in a 58-40 loss Jan. 8 against Peninsula and vowed to get his teammates more involved in the rematch.

“The first time we played them, I forced a lot things,” he said. “I tried to do a little too much.”

There were other elements that worked in Auburn Mountainview’s favor. The Seahawks’ 6-foot-9 center, Jimmy Ritchie, was sidelined because of an injury.

But Peninsula (17-2, 11-2) also hurt itself in a variety of ways. The Seahawks reduced their deficit to 25-21 at halftime, but they only converted 2 of 12 free throws during the first 16 minutes.

Peninsula twice reduced its deficit to four points in the second half before the Lions took advantage of a pair of critical errors to rebuild their lead. The first came with 1:32 left in the third quarter when the Seahawks were assessed with an intentional foul on a Lacey breakaway. Lacey split the free throws and then made a 3-pointer to give Auburn Mountainview a 43-35 lead.

The latter miscue occurred with 6:32 remaining in the fourth quarter when Peninsula senior center Josh Keough missed a dunk and hung onto the rim in an apparent putback attempt. Keough was assessed a technical foul and Lacey again took advantage with a 3-pointer after splitting a pair of free throws. That increased the Lions’ lead to 47-39.

“Once that happened, their tempers started flaring,” Lacey said. “It’s a competitive game, so I understand that. They were getting a little physical. That’s when we kind of knew they were mentally out of it and we had them on the ropes.Then it’s just executing.”

Lacey converted a 3-pointer he made 5 of 8 shots from beyond the arc to extend the Lions’ lead to 50-39 with 4:51 left. Auburn Mountainview’s lead remained in double figures for the duration of the game.

As impressive as the Lions were on the offensive end senior guards Ki’Jan Weisinger and Robbie Wilson each scored 10 points coach Thomas Ostrander was just as excited about his team’s work on the defensive end.

“To hold a team like that to 41 points, you don’t do that without great team defense,” he said.

Ostrander also praised the work that Weisinger did on McLaughlin, who scored 16 points.

“Ki’Jan is our lockdown defender,” he said. “He doesn’t ever get tired and he’s physical.”

Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s games, both teams will be the top seeds out of SPSL 3A. That means both squads could meet again in the West Central District 3A championship game at noon Feb. 20 at Puyallup.

“I told their coach (Jake Jackson) that we will see each other in the district championship,” Ostrander said. “You want to see your league do well.”


Auburn Riverside 79, at Lakes 57: Quintin Bethea and Julian Gulchuk each scored 14 points as the Ravens won for the third time in their last four games.

O’Darious Shaw and EJ Taylor also each scored 13 points for Auburn Riverside (11-8, 7-6). Rakeem Hughey scored a game-hgih 22 points for the Lancers (6-13, 4-9).

Auburn 57, at Bonney Lake 44: Tyler Pray scored a game-high 17 points as the Trojans moved into SPSL 3A’s sixth and final playoff spot with a win.

Malik Williams scored 16 points for Auburn (10-9, 5-8).