Auburn Riverside’s Javon Forward (5) and Kevin Griffin reach for a rebound against Auburn Mountainview on Friday night. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Auburn Riverside’s Javon Forward (5) and Kevin Griffin reach for a rebound against Auburn Mountainview on Friday night. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Ravens’ revival

Improved Auburn Riverside boys turn back Auburn Mountainview for 4-0 start

Julius Cain has taken on more responsibility and Auburn Riverside has become a better basketball team.

The 6-foot senior guard did a little bit of everything Friday night in directing the revitalized Ravens to a 54-32 victory against Auburn Mountainview in a North Puget Sound League Olympic Division boys game on Lea Hill.

Cain has personified new and improved AR – playing a big part in a suffocating defense and leading an explosive transition attack.

The Ravens, 5-15 a season ago, are 4-0 overall, 3-0 in league, their best start in six seasons under Coach Kevin Olson.

“We’re scrappy, we’re fighting for balls,” Cain said of the effort. “(Last season) humbled me. This season we’re not taking anything for granted, and I’m enjoying myself while I’m out here.”

Cain has taken on a leadership role, earning the respect that comes with it.

“He’s a solid player for us. It’s night and day from last year,” Olson said of Cain’s all-around play. “He has a great attitude. He’s been awesome. He’s done a great job in leading us.”

Cain scored 12 of his game-high 14 points in the second half, triggering a 19-5 run at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth quarter. Cain drilled a 3-pointer, deposited two layups in transition, had a steal, sank a free throw and threw a long pass to Malik Blancaneaux for a layup.

“It’s exciting. The team is really jelling right now,” Olson said. “Great chemistry. Everybody’s for each other. It’s not about individuals, it’s about the team.

“We bring positive effort, great enthusiasm and we put the team first, and the guys have really bought into that,” Olson added. “We’re just playing hard, playing together and playing to win. It’s been a great start. We’re going to try and keep it going.”

Cole Linehan, a 6-4 senior post, finished with 11 points and helped take command of the boards. Junior guard Kevin Griffin had 11 points and sophomore guard Isiah Gulchuck finished with 10.

The Lions (4-2, 1-2) are also off to a good start but had trouble matching the Ravens’ energy, having played six games in 12 days. Auburn Mountainview struggled from the field, missing shots the fueled AR’s transition game.

But third-year coach Matt Sinnes made no excuses following the home loss.

“They came out and threw punches at us, and we weren’t ready to play,” Sinnes said. “Hat’s off to them. Kevin’s kids played their tails off. They were dialed in and executed the plan that he wanted done for them. Unfortunately, we couldn’t put the ball in the hole, and we seemed a little lethargic tonight.

“We have a ton of respect for Kevin and his staff,” Sinnes said. “We came in knowing that they would have a good game plan for us. … I’ve always felt they are the best-coached team in the league. Kevin always gets his guys ready to go, and being a rivalry game we knew it was going to be tough.”

Still, Auburn Mountainview will be in the playoff fight. Sinnes’ teams know no other way.

The Lions started a three-guard look of seniors Que Daniels and Sam Borovets and junior Earl Kameron. Salauta Savusa, a 5-10 sophomore, also started. Down low, the team looks to 6-3 junior Keanu Mailoto and 6-2 senior Brandon Miguel. Ayub Mirreh, a 6-1 senior wing, provides some punch off the bench.

“I think we are a playoff team but we have some things to fix. We have new guys and inexperience,” Sinnes said. “In our league, every game is a playoff. We could lose to anybody, we can beat anybody on any given night, especially this year. … We just have to show up and give a better effort.”


Auburn Mountainview 64, Auburn Riverside 34: Junior guard Hayley Flores score 22 points, draining six 3-pointers, and freshman guard Maliyah Elliott added 16 as the Lions routed the Ravens on Friday night.

Jenna Lacey finished with 12 points for the Lions (2-1, 2-2).

Carol Chikusa led the Ravens (0-3, 0-5) with 11 points. Chloe Furnstahl and Stephanie Igwala each had eight.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

The Ravens’ Neveah Pulliam (5) and Chloe Furnstahl (20) battle Auburn Mountainview for the ball Griday night. Right is the Lions’ Hayley Flores. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

The Ravens’ Neveah Pulliam (5) and Chloe Furnstahl (20) battle Auburn Mountainview for the ball Griday night. Right is the Lions’ Hayley Flores. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

More in Sports

Emerald Downs to increase horse racing purses by 10% in 2022

Second consecutive year of 10% increase at Auburn track

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Harrison Maurus. Courtesy of Team USA.
Auburn’s Harrison Maurus takes fourth place in Olympics

Weightlifter places the highest of any American man in 30 years.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

The Emerald Downs horse racing track will reopen May 19 with a limited number of fans allowed. COURTESY PHOTO, Emerald Downs
Emerald Downs to allow fans this horse racing season

At 25% capacity under state guidelines; fans were banned last year due to COVID-19

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

file photo
Emerald Downs had an average daily handle of $1.79 million during a shortened 2020 season that concluded Oct. 29. The average daily handle last season was $1.1 million. Fans were not allowed at the races, including during this photo from opening day.
Emerald Downs concludes season with daily wagering up 61% over last year

Off-track fans bet average of $1.79 million per day during 38-day session

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.